“It’s the most glorious time of the year!” … or its it? Yes, it’s exciting but it goes without saying that it can come with its pressures too. For some opening that first advent calendar window, triggers conflicting emotions of happiness, sadness and possibly even overwhelm (fear). It could be that there are unresolved family rows from the past year and you’re anticipating an inevitable fight. It could be the prospect of wall to wall mattresses or possibly the absence of a loved one. Eliminating some of the stress could make this the ideal time to connect and make some special memories.
A few seasonal tips to consider:
Trying to live up to previous Christmas traditions or perhaps make everything PERFECT for the most important meal of the year? Alleviate that pressure by planning ahead and creating some to do lists. Consider delegating and leaning on your support system. Decide when to stop and forget unimportant stuff. There comes a time to end preparations and start enjoying and relaxing. Lower your expectations and you may be pleasantly surprised.
The pressure to have unending harmonious fun is spurred on by marketing and social media. More often than not the sharer of social media snaps and posts have fun intentions and sometimes posts are used to fulfil their need of convincing themselves and others how wonderful their lives are. This is about them and certainly not a challenge for you to raise your bar. If watching everyone’s highlight reel is a pressure for you, consider taking a break from this. This will allow you to focus your attention and be present with your own weird, wonderful, imperfect family.
If ever there was a time to slot in a brisk walk or exercise it’s now. With the excessive eating and drinking that often partners the festivities some physical activity will help to burn the extra calories. It will also lower stress hormones and surge those feel good endorphins. Embrace the great outdoors … even for a brisk daily walk. This works wonders too for over excited, energy filled kids.
Maintaining a good sense of humour and seeing the funny side goes a long way. Humour not only solidifies connections but acts as a great buffer to stress too. They say laughter is the best medicine – humour can be a miracle remedy in overcoming looming conflict. When you catch your Mother-in-Law “unstuffing” the goose that she mistook for the Turkey how could you not laugh? Look for the funny side!
When all else fails BREATHE! Deep breathing benefits are unending. Not only will you be impacting your health positively, this will help to calm errant feelings of stress. Deep breathing also helps you to disengage from distracting thoughts and sensations. This is a technique to consider incorporating into your daily routine not just at Christmas but as an ongoing tool.
“Warmest thoughts and best wishes for a wonderful holiday and a very happy new year”