It’s supposed to be ‘the most wonderful time of the year’. And yes it can be so very magical but Christmas can also be such a stressful time. With the list of things to do just mounting up - increased family commitments, lots of nights out, parties the children must be taken to, the added expense, work still to do, and all the booze (plus the killer hangovers) to contend with. Arggghh!
So to help you keep your cool this Christmas here are 6 top tips for a calm Christmas.
1. Nobody is perfect
Take a deep breath and repeat “Good enough, is good enough”. Because you know what, perfection doesn’t really exist. Perfection is only ever someone’s opinion, and we can’t control the opinions, thoughts and feelings of other people (we really can’t). Life is messy and imperfect, and sometimes it’s those quirky imperfections and even *gasp* ‘mistakes’ that make life so interesting and beautiful and teach us so much. So make peace with your half decorated house, slightly too big tree, overcooked brussels, and missing bread sauce (which no one likes anyway) and remember - if it’s good enough, it’s good enough.
2. Don’t try to please everyone
At Christmas time it might seem like there are a million festive get-togethers, hundreds of secret Santa’s for you to be involved with and everyone wanting the world on a stick before the big day – but you can’t do everything. If you’re rubbish at setting boundaries and end up saying ‘yes’ too much just to keep everyone happy – you’ll be heading for yuletide burnout before you can say chocolate log!
Instead, get clear on exactly what it is you want and need.
If you need more rest, take a night off the party and snuggle in bed – your friends will understand. If you’re skint until January, let your book club friends know that you’re going to duck out of the Secret Santa this year. Don’t be afraid to say no when it comes to your own health and wellbeing, it has to come first.
3. Take some time for self care
Christmas is the perfect time to take extra special care of yourself and show yourself some love. Do more of what makes you feel good – extended soaks in the baths, enjoying delicious food, a few glasses of port/gin/vino, long walks, hugs, lazing on the sofa watching basically any old crap on the television (still in your pyjamas), saying nice things to yourself - it all helps. Self-love is like a soothing balm - slather it on!
4. Unplug and press pause
How about making Christmas a time to unplug, recharge and switch off from social media for a few days? Press the pause button on technology. Spend some time just focusing on real life and the people around you and use it as an excuse to forget about the wider world for a while. It’s a great way to give yourself a mental break.
When things feel a little bit too much, just bring yourself into the present moment by connecting to your breath. Breathe slowly, gently and smoothly in and out through your nose, and simply bring your attention to your breathing putting whatever else is going on to one side. If you can gently close your eyes to cut out visual distractions. You can count down from 12 to 0 with each breath, counting on each inhale. If you loose count don't worry, just start again at 12 (it's not a race). Once you get to 0 you can either start again at 12, just be with your breathing in and out, or go and carry on with your day. Do this as often as you need to. It's super calming for the brain and the nervous system too, and great for a quick stress reliever.
6. Be grateful
Practicing gratitude really works. At the end of every day over the holidays make a note of three things you’re grateful for - things you appreciated or that went well, big or small. If you have trouble getting up in the morning, then you could do it at the start of the day instead (or as well), to help you feel more connected to and positive about the day ahead. Doing this simple thing every day feels good, plus it helps to train your brain to automatically look for more positive things.
I hope these top tips are useful and bring you some ease in stressful times, and can help you to enjoy this festive season. Wishing you a very happy, calm and relaxing Christmas.
Please do share this with any friends or family who might need it.