“When in doubt, always choose love & gratitude.” ~ Hal Elrod
Christmas and New Year is promoted as a special time of the year for sharing, gift giving, and celebration. However, for many the romanticized version of Christmas can be the cause of significant emotional dis-stress.
This might be the pressure of finances or it might be the expectations of getting together with relatives that generates tension. Then there are those who are experiencing aloneness, those facing a chronic health crisis or feeling the acute loss of a loved one.
If you relate to any of these then you might be experiencing increased levels of anxiety, frustration or even sadness and depression.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Here are some practical tips for getting through this holiday season more successfully:
♥ Spending – Have a budget
Maybe you are one of the 57% of Christmas shoppers who started with a Christmas budget, and have stuck to it.
If that's not you, don't worry, there is still time to take control of your spending in the frenetic buildup to Christmas.
Take a little bit of timeout today and make a list of 'everything' you need, and how much you are willing to spend. Your list needs to include everything, the rest of your presents for family, friends or colleagues, food, drink, stocking fillers, etc. Keep this with you whenever you are shopping, it will help you make good decisions with presents, and resist those tempting sale items.
♥ Family tension – Before and during the festivities
The stress of Christmas can add to any existing tension between family members. A Relationships Australia survey found that around 40% of men and 30% of women reported Christmas as having a significant effect on their relationships.
Be realistic with your expectations. With social media, magazines, TV shows and adverts bombarding you with "perfect" images of what Christmas should look like, it is easy to lose sight of "what really matters". So choose to 'let things go', be less reactive, and avoid known triggers for yourself and those around you.
If you feel yourself getting reactive or anxious take a moment to 'ground yourself'. You can do this by taking a couple of deep slow breathes –– feel your abdomen rise with each breath –– sense the ground beneath your feet, and then attend to a task in the moment. This might be meal preparation, playing with a younger family member, or maybe engaging with someone new to the family.
Be mindful about your alcohol consumption and drink plenty of water, especially if you know this has created issues in your relationships before.
♥ Aloneness – Consider your needs and wants
Christmas isn't always about spending time with family and friends. You might not have family available to you or might prefer to spend it on your own. Christmas can also trigger memories of a lost loved one. If you are expecting to spend Christmas day on your own, ask yourself if this a good option for you. If it isn't then consider creating some structure for the day doing things you enjoy, so there aren't lengthy periods of time that might invite a sense of melancholy. Consider your favorite movie, music, food, or places you enjoy visiting.
If you know it’s not good for you to be alone at Christmas then take action. Consider inviting someone else who is alone. Attend a Christmas event or even a lunch in your local area, some churches and organisations are very proactive about supporting people at this time of the year. You could even volunteer to help with a charity lunch for the homeless or those struggling to make ends meet.
A random act of kindness, no matter how small, can make a tremendous impact on someone else's life.” ~ Roy T. Bennett
♥ Self-care – Everyone benefits
When you look after yourself you have more to give to others. Here are a few important strategies to remember:
If you have family and / or friends coming to your place, delegate! There is more fun to be had when everyone gets involved, so don't get caught in the trap of trying to be everything to everybody. Trust me, it doesn't work!
Enjoy the food, but don't go overboard. Try and pace yourself, remember the holidays have only just begun.
Stay hydrated, especially if you are drinking alcohol.
Make sure you are getting enough sleep
Ensure you keep up your exercise regime. Consider taking a walk after dinner.
Calm yourself when you need to. If you have animals, spending time with them is wonderfully therapeutic. If you meditate, set aside a few minutes to center yourself before everyone arrives, and whenever required.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with the holidays, then please call me for a Free 15 minute consultation. We can talk about what is going on for you and I can answer any questions you might have. If I am with a client I will get back to you as soon as I can.
Did you enjoy this blog post? Then add yourself to my list.