Christmas is traditionally known as a period of celebration, joy and full of spirit, however, the season can present with challenges and mixed emotions. If you experience this, you are definitely not alone. Many people find this period stressful and difficult in many areas such as financially, expectations from ourselves or families, energy/burnout and complete social overload.
Looking after yourself during this time is important so you are able to give as well and it is in fact a time that should spark joy. Here are some ways that may help if Christmas starts to be more chaotic than calm:
- Keep a regular routine: Changes in routine can lead to unnecessary stress particularly in a period that is already deemed to be hectic. Keep doing the things you would normally do despite the break. Keep up your morning routine, exercise and general activities you engage in that are a part of your life. This way you are able to stay more present by looking after yourself.
- Everything in moderation: Food, alcohol, social events and workplace engagements are all part of Christmas celebrations as a part to acknowledge the progress throughout the year. These can all be fun for many, however lead to lack of sleep, inadequate nutrition and not having enough time to ourselves with can in turn effect our physical and mental health, which well.. then isn’t so much fun. Remember to keep balance during this period and it is ok to say “NO” to anything that is not going to serve you in the long run.
- Attend events that make you happy: most of the year in the fast-paced life we live in, we don’t always get time to catch up with friends as much as we might like to or see those in physical form that are important to us. Generally, the Christmas period can be overloaded with events from many different diverse groups and some that are not a priority. We don’t have to please everybody, and this is not going to make us happy in the long time. There is nothing lonelier than being in a room full of people that “are not our people” but are attended due to expectations. Instead of feeling uplifted, these events may have the opposite effect and in turn leave us feeling bad about ourselves or our position in life. Remember your time is important is you get to decided how to spend it.
- Take time out: Actual Christmas including Christmas Eve and Boxing Day traditionally can be times we spend around our families, as wonderful as families can be, they can also be triggering for many even if they don’t mean to be. Aunt Doris may comment on your appearance and Uncle Bob might interrogate as to why you are still single which can become overwhelming in the centre. Remember you always have the option to remove yourself for a moment and reset again. This might be a walk around the block with headphones on to listen to music or even a trip to the bathroom to take 5 deep breaths.
- Lower expectations: most of time these come from ourselves. Did I pick the right gift? Did I cook enough food? Which all lead to taking away from the experience and present. If we look at the deeper meaning of the season, it is a time for connection and coming together again perhaps after a busy year and the important part is just being there. Sometimes we can be hard on ourselves to be perfect for something that is essentially a day. Remember you are doing your best as having these expectations shows you care! Showing up and being present is in fact the best present for the family and friends, the rest will figure out.
- Reach out and ask for support: the Christmas period can also be a lonely time for many. Not everyone has family close by or friends they are able to spend the holidays with. Reach out if you need, many places require volunteers if you feel like giving back or perhaps use technology for all of the positive aspects it has by staying connected. Skype friends and family from afar and have a virtual celebration. It is the period for connection.