Can you tell self-care affirmations from seasonal cheer?

Here’s a quiz you can take by yourself, use in classes for a lighthearted end to the term, or if you’re connecting with family and friends online over the holidays. It’s appropriate to those of all faiths and none.

How to play
The aim of this quiz is to see if you can distinguish which of the following 21 phrases is a self-care message or from a seasonal blessing or song – that might be for Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule, or Christmas.  No cheating! You can’t look up any of these online, you just have to guess.

  1. The empty lantern provides no light.
  2. Warmth of joy, glow of prosperity, sparkle of happiness.
  3. Bring faith to your soul and wellbeing to you.
  4. The wrong shall fail, the right prevail.
  5. The darkness cannot overtake you if your light shines from within.
  6. It’s more than pride, it’s a way of life. Live your purpose. Lift your people. Love yourself.
  7. Let your heart be light, from now on your troubles will be out of sight.
  8. A kind heart always has more to give.
  9. From out of the darkness and cold the light and hope returns.
  10. Let light illuminate your heart and mind.
  11. A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks, a new and glorious morn.
  12. Let your soul shine.
  13. May your spirit shine bright.
  14. If you want to light the way for others you have to glow yourself.
  15. All is calm, all is bright.
  16. Hope you are blessed with everything that makes you happy.
  17. To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake it is necessary to stand out in the cold.
  18. May your days be merry and bright.
  19. Peace and prosperity. Blessings and opportunity. Love and renewal.
  20. If you’re baking holiday cookies, always save some for yourself.
  21. To take each moment, and live each moment, in peace eternally.

Further ways to use this quiz
Whether or not you’re celebrating anything in December, this quiz can also be a way to talk about the way we frame self-care messages and how there may be overlaps between self-care and other forms of affirmation, prayer, poetry, or song.

If you like any particular message you can use it for yourself or others – maybe making something creative to keep or share. For example using painting, drawing, colouring, photography, colouring or embroidery to suit your talents and tastes.

If you’re using this within teaching you can adapt it to explore some of the 21 messages further; what different themes run across them; or how presenting phrases in different ways or removing their context may alter their meaning.  You could also use this quiz to critique what self-care messages can, and can’t do; and who they bring in and leave out?  Or consider why particular messages run across different times, spaces, faiths and cultures and the significance those hold.

If you want to explore a critical take on self-care advice in academia this is addressed in Chapter 1 and throughout Being Well In Academia which also has more practical advice for you than simple messages, no matter how cheery.

Answers

  1. The empty lantern provides no light – Self-care.
  2. Warmth of joy, glow of prosperity, sparkle of happiness – Hanukkah.
  3. Bring faith to your soul and wellbeing to you – Solstice.
  4. The wrong shall fail, the right prevail – Christmas (This is a carol based on a poem so you get a bonus if you can name it. “I heard the bells on Christmas Day”)
  5. The darkness cannot overtake you if your light shines from within. Self-care.
  6. It’s more than pride, it’s a way of life. Live your purpose, Lift your people. Love yourself – Kwanzaa.
  7. Let your heart be light, from now on your troubles will be out of sight. Christmas (Another carol, bonus if you recognise it “Have yourself a merry little Christmas”, and another bonus still if you know the original version is very much not a self-care message)
  8. A kind heart always has more to give – Self-care.
  9. From out of the darkness and cold the light and hope returns – Solstice.
  10. Let light illuminate your heart and mind – Hanukkah.
  11. A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks, a new and glorious morn – Christmas (It’s a carol, bonus if you know it’s “Oh Holy Night” and a lifetime’s credit if you can sing it).
  12. Let your soul shine – Self-care.
  13. May your spirit shine bright – Solstice.
  14. If you want to light the way for others you have to glow yourself – Self-care.
  15. All is calm, all is bright – Christmas (Carol, bonus if you recognised it as Silent Night)
  16. Hope you are blessed with everything that makes you happy – Hanukkah.
  17. To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake it is necessary to stand out in the cold – Self-care.
  18. May your days be merry and bright – Christmas (carol time again! It’s “White Christmas” but there’s a very sad story behind this song)
  19. Peace and prosperity. Blessings and opportunity. Love and renewal – Kwanzaa.
  20. If you’re baking cookies for Santa, save some for yourself – Self-care.
  21. To take each moment, and live each moment, in peace eternally – Christmas (the final Carol, bonus if you knew it was “Let there be peace on earth” and its story is here).

However you are celebrating, or not,  I wish you peace and happiness.

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