Well it’s that time of year again – colder, darker and a long way till summer. And of course thoughts turn to Christmas even if we’re not ready for it yet. The adverts are already on the TV and the shops are full of it. I’ve already heard people saying that it feels like it starts earlier every year and how much they hate Christmas.
Why do some people hate it while others just get wrapped up in the excitement of it all? I know that there are people who spend it on their own. The rest of us just feel overwhelmed and put pressure on ourselves to make it as perfect as possible. The more pressure we put on ourselves the more our stress and anxiety levels rise.
Is this reality?
The media, especially tv adverts, show happy families enjoying each other’s company in beautifully decorated rooms. Children are playing happily side by side because someone remembered to buy the correct batteries. The food is cooked to perfection, with a turkey that actually fits in the baking dish and the oven. Roast potatoes, crisp and golden on the outside and fluffy in the middle, perfectly cooked vegetables, thick smooth gravy and a perfect dome shaped christmas pudding flaming nicely. Other relatives are welcomed in with hugs and smiles and what a wonderful time is had by all.
No, this is reality
Is it any wonder we feel pressure when this is the ideal we are meant to aspire to? Of course the reality is different isn’t it? The lights from last year no longer work, the cat is climbing up the tree, no one remembered the batteries and the children continue to bicker. The turkey only fits in the the oven after it’s legs are removed, the brussel sprouts have turned to mush, and the pudding sets fire to the table cloth and nobody really likes it anyway.
There are moans from the older relatives about the noise until they fall asleep and snore loudly. And who is going to clear the bomb site that used to be the kitchen? Does all this sound familiar? Does the thought of doing it all again start to stress you out? Are you asking yourself “How can I survive Christmas again?”
Tips to survive Christmas
Well here are a few tips that might help reduce that pressure:-
- Embrace it. Think of it as a festival to cheer up and brighten an otherwise dark, dank, dreary part of the year. Notice how much prettier everywhere is with the twinkling lights.
- Don’t feel that you need to shop for a 3 month siege. The shops are only closed for one day. Think about how much stuff gets thrown away the day after Boxing Day. Who would really notice if you didn’t buy that bottle of Advocaat – it only sits in the cupboard for the rest of the year anyway.
- Think about what it is that children really want, or anyone come to that matter. The most important thing that we all want, is to spend time with people we love and who are important to us. Do you really remember all the toys you were ever bought for Christmas? But I bet you can remember the times when you went on days out, or holidays or just being with your parents, grandparents or any significant adult in your life. So turn the tv off and play charades or any game you like or better still – go out for a walk.
- When it comes to that big meal of the day, put on a paper hat and smile. Would your loved ones really love you any less if your sprouts were slightly over done or if there was only one type of stuffing? I doubt it, so don’t be so hard on yourself.
- Finally take some time for yourself, even if you have to lock yourself in a room somewhere. Put on some relaxing music, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Imagine yourself somewhere else. A beach, a field or a beautiful garden and relaaaax.
It does only come once a year and you survived the last one and it wasn’t as bad as you imagined was it? We can’t stop it coming so the best way to survive and lower the stress and anxiety is to look for the positives. Yes, there are some if you think about it. The reality of anything is never as bad as we imagine it.
If you want to know more about how to reduce stress & anxiety please contact me.