Christmas can bring with it an association of memories, events, rituals, some pleasant and others painful. The lead up to the big day itself may be a time of joy and it can also be a time of great stress; particularly when the giving feels more like an obligation, the family time is a source of conflict and the extra appetizers leave an unwelcome mark on the hips and deplete energy levels.
Whether someone feels that the festive season is something to look forward to or not, it helps to develop a basic awareness of the potential for stress during this time and know tools to help get through it. Armoured with shopping lists and plans, consider also the techniques for staying calm, positive and happy. There is a way to enjoy the inevitable challenges the “silly season” brings.
Manage Expectations of Self and Others at Christmas
People should become aware of whose needs they are trying to satisfy this Christmas. Other people’s expectations can cause a tremendous amount of stress and the sense of duty is often magnified in the mind. One should ask if the goals realistic and achievable in the timeframes. Think about what can be let go of, allowing time to be free to deal with each moment, in the moment as it arises.
Recognise Self-Coping Strategies For Stressful Situations
Just as the body can generate the stress hormones that produce response for ‘flight or fight’, it can also trigger the response for relaxation. A person may have a number of ways of dealing with stress, but some strategies aren’t the healthiest. Be aware of these tools by recalling how a difficult period of time was managed in the past. Try writing a list, however brief, of ways to navigate life’s challenges, including this Christmas.
Give More Than Gifts
Buying gifts for loved ones can make someone feel great but sometimes it can have a high financial and emotional cost. Some strive to find that “perfect” gift for the person who already seems to have everything. Keep in mind the abundant society of the twenty first century, surrounded by material wealth and objects. Put the intention into the gift. The best gifts after all are love, time and attention.
Realistic Time Management and Christmas Planning
Some people start their Christmas planning the previous year, beginning with the boxing day sales. Others wear the drama of leaving all preparations to last minute. Think about what tasks can be dropped from the to-do list. Create a list of achievable goals, perhaps it can be shared and others can help… what a great opportunity to receive in the spirit of Christmas.
Nourishment for Body, Mind and Soul
You may have an abundance of appointments competing for room in your calendar, or perhaps there is a glaring lack of. Either way, it is your entitlement to carve out the time for yourself to do something good for you that you enjoy. Healthy relaxation activities to keep you sane include taking a walk in nature (not in a shopping mall), tai chi, yoga, meditation, a long bath or shower. Sure, indulge in some Christmas feasts, but be mindful as you do, eat slowly and pay attention to the senses.
These Holidays are a Valuable Time For Relationships
Christmas provides opportunity to connect with family, children, friends, neighbours, colleagues, shop attendants, strangers and most importantly with self. Observe the patterns of communication with extended family. Notice the precursors to conflict, try to stop and think before reacting. Think how time, positive thought and actions can be used to strengthen relationships.
Take a Break From Tradition For a Stress Free Christmas
Routines can make a person feel secure. The downside is that if views and rituals are fixed in stone, it becomes very frustrating when things don’t go to plan. Feeling frustrated causes a lot of energy expenditure. How can things be done differently? Take a break, whether it be physically getting away from it all for a brief while or taking on something new and unplanned.
Remember, no matter how well planned the occasion or how much someone wants something to happen, things are likely to change. It is through the process of adapting to the changes that the real growth takes place. People should stay kind to themselves this Christmas, no matter what happens, and observe how that peace radiates from the individual to positively affect everyone around.