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Be More Robin

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Carrie has been a qualified QCHPA practitioner since 2011 and works mostly with women feeling overwhelmed and anxious. She sees clients online with the belief that people who are comfortable in their own space will have the best results for them.

Always up for a chat, you can find her on Instagram @goalcrushingwithcarrie or on her website

Be More Robin!

National Robin Day is on the 21st December. This is a day of awareness when we can learn all about how to help robins and other small birds survive the winter. Being tiny birds at around 14g fully grown, they can only survive one or two days without food during the harsh winter conditions.

This winter especially we’re seeing tougher conditions than perhaps a lot of us can ever remember having before, with the energy price hikes, the food price hikes, the rent price hikes. Add to that the dark rainy evenings plus all of the usual pressures of this time of year, and we could definitely do with help ourselves to survive the winter. I personally swear by vitamin D and practising hygge – that wonderful Danish habit of being comfortable and doing comfortable things. It’s only something I started around four years ago and it’s become something of an Autumn and Winter hobby now.

After years of spending December full of cold after cold, stressed, tired, and just wanting the New Year to be here, I decided to stop and think about what I was doing. I caught glandular fever and had to have an enforced rest and it was then I had a bit of a breakthrough. I was completely over-committing by saying “YES!” to every invitation and organising lots of events, then when it actually got to it I spent the whole time wishing I was at home in my pj’s and slippers finishing off the bits that I actually wanted to do or just snuggling down and watching a cheesy Hallmark festive film. You know the films I mean, where the hard working big city business woman has to write an article about a small town/visit a sick relative/close down the main source of income for the townspeople (delete as appropriate) and then ends up falling in love with her high school crush and realising life is more simple when you do the things you love. Now I’ve written it out, I realise why I love those films so much. Life really is more simple when you slow down and make time to do the things you love. Less FOMO, more FODIAGO (Fear Of Doing It And Getting Overwhelmed). I spoke to my therapist about this, and questioned why I was doing something repeatedly that I wasn’t enjoying when it got to it.

Much like the robin, I am a home-bird. I obviously don’t attack people when they come into my home (I’m not that much like the robin!), but I love my little patch that I can create to be truly what I want it to be. And what’s the point of doing that if you’re never there to see it?

I think a lot of my issue was that I didn’t want to disappoint people. I felt the pressure of wanting to make the magic of Christmas happen for all of my family and friends – I hated the idea that people might be lonely or might miss out on events because they don’t have the confidence to go alone or they have no one else to go with, and it took a bit of working through in therapy to truly accept that I cannot be everything to everyone, I cannot be there for everyone, and most importantly, I cannot pour from an empty jug. I needed to do things for me (including rest!) because if I don’t, I’ll go back to that stressed, tired and ill person I was. I need to do things that allow me to fill my jug back up.

And do you know what? I love December so much more now. I love that I can pick the activities *I* want to do, and if people want to come along with me – great. If they don’t, that is their option. If that’s seen as selfish, that’s fine because that’s their opinion and not my truth. I can’t stretch myself in all directions, and I can’t help people live my version of Christmas and December. They have to do that for themselves and I’m grateful I know that now. I know it’s making me feel healthier, and it’s making me a nicer person to be around. I’ve always loved the whole of December with the sparkly lights and excitement and anticipation, and that I get to make my family and friends presents and carry on the traditions that started with my grandparents, like stirring our wishes and intentions for the next year into the cake and my favourite of all, clipping an antique Robin (real feathers and all!) onto the tree to remind us of our family and friends that are no longer with us. I grew up with the saying “when robins are here a loved one is near” and I still say hello to every robin I see even now just in case that is true. Because that’s what Christmas is really, isn’t it? Lots of traditions we’ve carried through the years from our friends and family, to create a time where we get to hunker down for a bit and love and be loved. And if we’re not doing that, maybe we need to look at what we would like to be doing this time of year instead. Because what is tradition, but a load of habits we’re carrying on from people that are long gone? Maybe it’s time to make new traditions that serve us better. Maybe it’s time to be more robin, and only spend time with the people we want to, eat the food we want to, create a patch we call home and not be pressured into doing things we don’t want to by the other birds. Did you know a robin’s red breast isn’t to attract a mate like a peacock, but to say “oi, this is my patch!” instead?

So let’s celebrate and look after these tiny little feisty birds this winter by putting out dried fruits, crushed peanuts and mealworms for them. And every time you see one maybe remember to slow down, do what YOU want to do, and spend some time on your own patch to rest and recover.

Be more robin.