As Christmas fast approaches, there are many things to love and rejoice – family traditions new or old, the opportunity to catch up with friends and loved ones, watching children or grandchildren opening their presents, the Christmas tree and fairy lights, school plays and Carol concerts.
That said, Christmas isn’t an enjoyable time of year for everyone which can induce or exacerbate stress and anxiety, it can be time consuming, adding to financial worries and exhausting. Have you found that perfect gift yet? Christmas Eve panic buying? Additional baking and cooking anyone? Fancy some late-night wrapping? Christmas family negotiations?
If the thought of Christmas is giving you a headache already, consider my handy tips to help you quieten your inner Grinch and reclaim Christmas your way.
*Set a realistic schedule – Look at your diary and see if you’re trying to schedule or juggle too many commitments either in the run up to Christmas or on the day itself. Plan quality time for yourself and see if there’s anything you can re-schedule until the New Year to allow yourself extra wiggle room.
*Don’t be afraid to say no – There can be pressure at this time of year to over commit. Helping others and spreading joy enhances our own gratitude releasing those wonderful feel good hormones. Before you over promise though, take a few minutes to pause, that warm fuzzy feeling can soon turn into stress. Don’t be afraid to say no and understand your own limitations (not anyone else’s). Monitor your feelings closely and if they turn into Christmas worries and/or anxiety, re-evaluate, people will understand.
*Have an exit strategy – All the social events and catch ups can be stressful. Running through the last 12 months of your life with Aunty June who then gives you “helpful advice” can be daunting and draining. A multitude of questions before you’ve even sat down. Prepare yourself beforehand, think how you’ll answer those sensitive questions and have an exit strategy in mind if the conversation is heading where you don’t want it to. Remember, you are in control and no one can make you talk about something you don’t want too.
*Don’t aim for the perfect Christmas – All the planning and preparation to have the perfect Christmas can often lead to disappointment and upset if it doesn’t come to fruition. I liken it to that feeling where everyone’s raving about “that film”, your anticipation builds and when you’ve watched it you wonder what all the fuss was about?!
Don’t plan for the perfect Christmas, release your expectations aiming for an imperfect one instead. You may find it more enjoyable.
*Conflict and tensions – Christmas can be an emotional minefield, it can be hard not to react to challenging behaviour. While it’s good to be assertive there is a fine balance between assertive and aggressive which can end up with words being said that can’t be taken back. Remind yourself to let it go, you’ll be leaving soon anyway so walk away. If the issue needs to be addressed – leave it for another time.
*Schedule “me time” – After all the cooking, present buying, gift wrapping and Christmas catch ups hit the pause button. The lead up to Christmas is always hectic and it’s important to make time to relax in whatever format that takes for you. There will always be a million other things to do no matter what time of the year, but your wellbeing is more important than anything else on that list.
Make a list of things you love doing but never have time for and look at what needs to be achieved to make them a reality. Reschedule activities, it’s perfectly acceptable to say `’no, sorry I’m already committed on that date”, arrange childcare for a few hours. Make yourself a priority this Christmas time and beyond.
Thank you for reading my Blog and if I can assist you, your friend or family member with a stress-free Christmas or New Year with a few sessions of Solution Focused Hypnotherapy, please contact me to book your FREE initial consultation and discover more.
Wishing you all a wonderful month – Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year.