I had fun writing this weeks post…mainly because I’ve added in several (terrible) puns! Can you spot them!? I’m strangely proud of my punning abilities. Guess the number of puns in the comments, and I may even send you a prize 😉
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Christmas can be magical and stressful in equal measure. Avoid Christmas overwhelm by following these tips.
Have a detox
The words ‘Christmas’ and ‘Detox’ used together might sound like an oxymoron to you. However I’m not some kind of festive-fun-spoiler suggesting you use this holiday to restrict yourself to green juices and refrain from the cheese and chocs! I’m talking about a detox of the digital kind.
Christmas can be a great opportunity to spend meaningful time with our loved ones, enjoying the present moment and really switching off; but an increase in free time can lead to more time plugged in, whether at our computers or on our phones.
Our modern world is becoming increasingly digitally addicted and it can have a huge impact on our stress and anxiety levels. The constant buzz of tweets and Facebook updates, harrowing world news and the ever-present temptation to check work emails (guilty as charged) can lead to a serious case of information overload (not to mention the self-esteem-bashing comparison that surfing Instagram can create).
My suggestion is this; unplug and switch off from your computer and phone as much as possible over the festive break. Concentrate on ‘being here, now’ and saviour this time off to the max by really engaging with the people you’re with. Play the board-game your Gran loves, take the dog for a loooong walk and relish every bite of Christmas pud without keeping one eye on your Twitter feed.
Can’t go full cold turkey? Keep your phone on aeroplane mode between certain hours, to reduce the number of distractions during those times.
Time for you
I say this again and again to my clients; we all need time out to ourselves to rest and recharge so that we can be at our best. Without stoking your festive fire how can you be expect to bring any cheer? When you take care of yourself, everyone else benefits too.
Me, I’m a scheduler. If it’s in the diary, it’s set in stone! If it’s not in the diary, I may as well forget it!
Even if your Christmas is looking like it will be a mass of travel, food prep, last minute trolly dashes through Tesco at 4:20pm on Dec 24th (I’ve been there), schedule in some time for you. A mindful walk, a run around the park, an Epsom salt soak or 20 minutes to read your new book; make it a priority and make it happen!
Mind the Gap
Sometimes things don’t turn out how we want them to.
An interesting truth about stress is that it’s often caused the gap between what we expect will happen and what actually happens. If you’re expecting to arrive at the in laws with plenty of time to watch Downton with a large glass Prosecco, and the reality is that your Father in law has you prepping spuds and stirring gravy all afternoon, this is likely to create a lot more stress than if you’d known that was the plan all along.
Having too high expectations (or the wrong expectations) can often lead us feeling disappointed and stressed out.
Try to be as realistic as possible about what your Christmas will entail and what’s expected of you and when. Let go of any perfectionist ideas that things must go a certain way in order for you to have a good time. Try to adopt a sense of openness and acceptance to whatever is happening, and you’ll be able to enjoy it, no matter what surprises come your way.
A lot us have a problem with saying ‘no’ and setting clear boundaries with people (especially when we’re people pleasers and we just want everyone to have a good time).
If you say yes to something you don’t really have the energy for, you’ll not only end up exhausted, but you’ll be quietly resenting the other person too. Instead of ending up cream crackered, set clear boundaries with people and let them know what you need and what you can and can’t do. It’s impossible to keep everyone happy and it’s your Christmas too.
So your Tiramisu turned out a soggy, rum sozzled mess? Your sister’s present for your Mum was waaaay more interesting and creative than yours? You’re left more than a little red faced after your antics at the Christmas party at work?
Ask yourself this question; will it really matter in a weeks time? Or tomorrow in fact?
The vast majority of things we worry about aren’t nearly as bad as our brains make them out to be.
All office antics blow over, and your workmates love you drunk anyway. When it comes to gifts, it’s the thought that counts. And everyone was too stuffed full of turkey to notice the Tiramisu anyway.
Let go of needing things to be perfect, put things in perspective and focus on having a lovely Christmas.