Even though tis the season to be jolly, for some people this puts on an added pressure to show an outward happiness that, for whatever reason, one does not feel inside. This can compound negative feelings and make a person feel even more isolated, especially if there has been increased stress, tragedy or bereavement in a persons life. Sometimes the stress can be simply having to welcome unwanted guests or unwanted demands on top of our normal everyday life such as extra shopping, baking, cleaning and entertaining to name just a few but this all adds to Christmas stress.
Using just a few practical tips these could help you enjoy the Christmas season more than you thought and minimize any stress. So here goes……
- Acknowledge and accept your feelings. If your loved ones are absent or if a loved one has recently died it’s OK to cry and let your feelings out. Don’t try and force yourself to be happy just because it is Christmas. This will just put unwanted pressure on yourself and make yourself feel worse.
- Contact that friend! If you are feeling lonely or isolated then try and reach out and speak to someone. If there isn’t anyone you know that you can speak to then try not to isolate yourself and seek out some community events. Volunteering is a good way to keep yourself occupied taking your mind of stressful thoughts and this is also a good way of meeting new people. This can generate some feel good positive thinking because you are giving something back to society. Just remember extra volunteers are always extra volunteers needed at Christmas time, especially in soup kitchens and homeless shelters.
- Forget Perfection! Be realistic with yourself. Christmas does not have to be the perfect day and does not have to be the same as last year and previous happy Christmases. Things do change, people move away, children may branch out with their own friends and their new families and therefore traditions can alter and change. People who previously made up your festival group festivities including children, friends and family circumstances may have changed so they may not be able to be with you over the Christmas period. You can find other ways of celebrating together. A phone call, skype or sharing videos and photos. No-one needs to be isolated with the way communication is these days.
- Forget your differences. Set aside any grievances or grudges until a more appropriate time for discussion to avoid any negativity on the day. Try to be understanding if others get disappointed or upset if things don’t quite go the way that they were planned. Remember as the year is drawing to an end instinctively we reflect on the past twelve months and there is a risk, especially with the festive alcohol that negative memories may come to the forefront of our minds.
- Don’t overspend. When you go shopping set a budget and stick to it. Don’t spend over your means as this just creates unwanted stress that could last throughout the year.
- Set a plan and stick to it! Try and schedule your days leading up to Christmas so that you know when you are shopping, baking , cleaning etc….. Plan your menus so that you know exactly how much food that you are buying and stick to the shopping list. Do not be tempted to over buy, you will only be throwing it away.
- Exercise. Try and get some exercise and fresh air. Even if it means just going for a walk to clear your head. If you already do regular exercise then don’t abandon your normal routine completely. Try and fit in as much exercise as you can to keep you tip top and this will also help you get a good quality nights sleep to help you recharge your batteries for the next day.
- Take time out. Don’t be afraid to go to a quiet room for a while and try a five minute meditation, you will find this may also help you to recharge and give clarity of mind. Emotional Freedom Technique is also very good for relieving stress and bringing down and taking control of anxious and overwhelming feelings. It’s also a good tool for letting negative feelings out, letting go of them and replacing them with positive ones. See a basic EFT instruction video here.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you are finding Christmas preparations too demanding then don’t be afraid to ask for help! Those involved in your Christmas preparation and festivities will also feel much happier that they are able to contribute to your celebrations. Trying to deliver the whole of Christmas by yourself may become too overwhelming and unmanageable.
- Help is out there! If you continue to have stressful feelings or your emotions are escalating to the point where you just cannot cope then you may seek professional help or if it is an acute emotional crisis a sympathetic ear is always available at the Samaritans.
I hope that these tips help you to get through the holiday period and relieves any possible Christmas stress and you all have a fantastic time. Remember be positive, keep calm, and, most of all, HAVE FUN!!!!!