MAKE THIS FESTIVE SEASON ONE THAT LASTS

As the year draws to a close, we prepare to navigate a holiday season like no other. Restrictions have uprooted how we spend the festive season, and how maintain our physical and emotional health. But while it’s important to accept this year will be different; it’s also an opportunity to create something more meaningful and sustainable than ever before.

Just because we can’t host large dinner parties, or spend the season with friends doesn’t mean we can’t find ways to celebrate each other.

Ask yourself: what have you been able to do to keep your passions alive during the year? Did you take a class, revisit a long-dormant skill? Does the same apply to your nearest and dearest? When we talk about sustainability, what we’re really talking about is compassion. We asked ourselves what a sustainable season looks like, and how you can prioritise wellness – we hope these ideas help you take stock, and offer a few gifting ideas for loved ones and yourself.

Consider your sense of purpose. 

Challenging times can be a catalyst for change. With so many of us adapting to the new normal, our approach to mental health has had to evolve too. Key to our understanding of wellness is our own sense of purpose. If this is the point in the year where you’re looking to sunnier climes, consider what these new experiences amount to? Is it possible to channel them into something more powerful in 2021? If not now, then when? Your family and friends may share your resolve to apply a new skill to something bigger than yourself. To double down on something you’ve learnt, or something you’d like to learn, is one of the holistic benefits to online learning.

Offer a learning experience.  

When restrictions limit what’s possible, home delivery is part and parcel of the festive season, but what if we  can go one better than plastic and cardboard? The benefit of gifting an online course is that none of these restrictions apply. You’ll receive a digital confirmation in minutes, and our gift cards are redeemable across our entire online catalogue. So if someone close to you has not been able to learn a new skill, it could be the most thoughtful thing you can do. To heed the needs of those around us is a way to sustain each other’s well being. 

Reach out when you can. 

In times of hardship, the signs of a struggle may be subtle. It could be someone close to you feels unable to relax and take their mind off things. Perhaps they’re having trouble getting things done. Don’t be afraid to ask after friends or loved ones. Giving and receiving helps sustain us long after the help is offered – it could be that they’re just missing a positive mental boost or feel unable to express themselves. Many students have told us that taking part had a real impact on their outlook. Taking care of each other, and keeping mindful of our needs will keep us buoyant throughout December.

Be kind. Always

There is pressure, too, at the threshold of a new year, to put hardship behind us and strive for better days. But this can contribute to anxiety. If you’re thinking about starting blocks for 2021, start with compassion for yourself. It is okay to give yourself a little grace. You don’t need a permission slip. Compassion, like creativity, is not a binary thing. It’s okay to feel optimistic and sad at the same time. Both of these are necessary for a healthy outlook and a sense of wellbeing. And of course, self-compassion and kindness to others often validates your feelings.

Have fun at home. 

We’ve always been proud to bring the feel-good factor to people through our courses. The fulfilment our students talk about– self-expression, keeping fit, applying yourself – all contribute to a healthier state of mind, but more than that: it’s fun! Gifting a course means your present won’t gather dust on a shelf, or sit in a box until January rears its head. It energises us, and it’ll fill you up; and it’s that energy that’s key to a sustainable holiday season.

One thing we know is that the power of lifelong learning is, quite literally, a gift that keeps on giving. It will outlast the trials of the year, and fulfil us long into the future. 

If you’d like to give the gift of time well spent, why not check out our range of creative options online and in-studio. With hundreds of courses suitable for all levels, you’re sure to find something for that special person in your life.

This Summer at City Academy our choirs, theatre and dance companies have all had their performances cancelled or postponed due to the ongoing restrictions on live performances in the UK. Despite this, these groups of like-minded performers have remained close. 

Throughout the lockdown our performance companies have been meeting virtually each week to learn, rehearse and socialise. The Contemporary Company members have shared personal stories and developed new work to express these through dance. The Songbirds Choir has pulled together to share professional skills and resources in support of one another and their communities. Various groups including Encore and Singers raised money for worthy charities by releasing recordings across social media. Our Musical Theatre Companies have rehearsed and quizzed their way through lockdown celebrating 10 years of friendship as a collective.