This week, our Claire is feeling naughty…

A couple of days ago, a friend shared a memory on Facebook about the time she had a “naughty corner” in her studio. It was when we used to meet for choir practice and sometimes we would be laughing so much at our shortcomings that she’d threaten to send us to the “naughty corner”. So now, all this time later, the “naughty corner” is a memory of good times when we’d be laughing ourselves silly. I think it also goes to show that naughty is often fun.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating for people to go rioting in the street but I do think, during a time of stress like the pandemic, we ought to quieten our inner voice that nags at us for not being perfect angels. For me, this often revolves around food. For example, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had Nutella on toast or jam sandwiches for tea this year. Each time my inner critic will remind me that’s a long way off eating healthily but I counter it with the knowledge that eating something I enjoy, that I haven’t had to slave over a hot stove for, does wonders for my mental health.

I also think it’s no coincidence that Christmas often revolves around food. It can be miserable when both mornings and evenings get cold and dark and the pressure to have ‘the perfect Christmas’ can be intense. So is it little wonder we “eat, drink and be merry”? Yes, it does little good for our waistlines to indulge in all that chocolate and cake but it’s better than being miserable isn’t it? …especially when our usual pleasures have been restricted so.

Of course, it needn’t revolve around food. Irreverence is also a great way to de-stress. Think of Miriam Margolyes, for example. If you’ve ever seen her on a chat show or one of her own documentaries, you’ll see she has a wicked sense of humour! She means no harm and there’s certainly no nastiness to her but it’s clear she doesn’t give two figs what anyone thinks of her! My best friend is the same way. She’ll have me laughing hysterically with some of the things she comes out with but I think she’d be horrified if she ever upset anyone. I think it’s a great way to be.

So, as the days get gloomier and the pressures of Christmas build, please remember to be kind to yourself. Quieten down that voice that criticises us for not being perfect. The angel will be on the top of the tree soon enough. There’s no need for us to be angelic as well!

PLEASE NOTE: If you’re struggling to cope, WHISC is available for Listening Ear calls. Give them a call on 07708 381568 or, alternatively, leave a message on their Facebook page with your phone number and they will ring you back.