Could you do with some handy tools and quick tips to smooth over the challenges of Christmas and ensure you have plenty of goodwill to all men, women, children AND relatives?
Well read on and find out how to keep your festive spirit high and your stress low.
Top of the list of Christmas stress has to be spending time with people you don’t like or who rub you up the wrong way. Here are three ways you can stay calm regardless of simmering tensions and snide comments.
• Practice the power of the pause. Don’t respond or react immediately – pause for thought and give yourself the space to consider, reflect and even intuitively feel what the best response is – even if that’s to remain silent and/or walk away.
• Use your breath to instantly calm and soothe yourself. Close your mouth, breath in for the count of six, hold for the count of six and exhale for the count of six. Repeat this cycle at least five times for an instant and powerful effect on your well being.
• Fake it with a smile! Did you know that fake smiling tricks the brain into believing its happy thus releasing its cheerful chemicals? Basically you can fake smile your way into feeling brighter and happier.
A different perspective
Want to know how you can stop your brain chuntering on and the monotonous dialogue that can keep us upset, irritated and flustered? Replace ‘why’ with ‘what is this teaching me?’ You see if you chose to see everything and everyone that upsets, annoys and frustrates you as an opportunity for personal enquiry you immediately shift your state. This incredibly powerful reframe stops suffering, breaks the mental patterns and opens up the doors to personal reflection and a growth mind-set.
‘It is what it is.’
One thing we all tend to do at Christmas is set unrealistically high expectations on ourselves as well as the day itself. Before you even begin this year’s festive celebrations spend some time considering what your expectations are and whether they need adjusting? Remember that ‘perfect’ doesn’t actually exist – it is merely a construct of your mind formed from your experiences, hopes and dreams. If you asked a hundred people what perfect meant to them you’d get a hundred different answers.
The best gift you can give yourself this Christmas is to put down the picture perfect expectations that slick marketing campaigns like to fill our minds with and get real. Adopt the mantra, ‘it is what it is,’ and instead of trying to control and fight reality to fit the illusion in your mind embrace Christmas for how it is – warts and all. When we let go of things needing to be a certain way we open the floodgates of peace.
Be present – it’s a gift
The best way to make sure that you enjoy Christmas is to turn off your phone and be as present as you can in everything that you do. Whether it’s watching the kids unwrap their presents, roasting the potatoes or listening to the conversation round the table take each moment as mindfully as you can and allow yourself to become absorbed in the moment. Christmas won’t pass by in a busy blur and it will feel richer and more rewarding as a result.
Enjoying the Christmas spirit
Whilst the words Christmas spirit might summon up an image of your favourite tipple I’m actually talking about that elusive, magical feeling. Here’s what you can do to have the most meaningful festivities…
• What makes your spirit shine? Make the most of your downtime and spare some time to nourish your soul, indulge in some self care and do what makes you happy.
• Practice acts of kindness. From volunteering your time to donating to a local charity think about ways you can reach out to others.
• As previously mentioned relish every moment and be as present as you can in everything that you do.
• What better time to count your blessings and practice an attitude of gratitude than Christmas? Focus on the good and joyful, consider what you are grateful for, notice the detail in each moment like twinkling eyes and a heart felt laugh. Practice gratitude throughout the day, collecting moment after moment that makes you feel grateful.
For many of us the festive season is a magical time of the year. With gorgeous decorations, over excited children and the rare opportunity to stop work and overindulge with food, family and friends. But there’s no getting away from the fact that Christmas also brings with it its own unique challenges and pressures. I hope that some of the tips and ideas here help you to slow down and savour the day and make this Christmas one that you will remember for all the right reasons.