Whilst the whole world seems to be looking forward to Christmas, some of us can feel anxious, and stressed at the thought, even wishing that the whole thing would just go away.
There are many reasons for this: worry about the excesses of food and drink, leading to unwanted weight gain or loss of control; feelings of loss, bereavement or loneliness; feeling pushed into family or social events we’d rather avoid; time hanging on our hands without our normal routines. It may also remind us that another year has passed and those changes we promised ourselves still haven’t been achieved. In addition of course, we have the ongoing Covid-19 and Omicron situation creating more uncertainty and disrupted plans.
If this resonates with you, here are some ideas to help.
Get outside every day even for a short time
With short daylight hours, and late nights, it’s easy for a whole day to pass without getting outside. We need sunlight and fresh air to keep our spirits up, especially if we suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder). This will also help counteract the “cabin fever” effect.
Keep up with activities you enjoy
Sometimes we allow the rest of our life to go into suspended animation and forget to continue with those everyday things that we actually enjoy. Keep going with things that absorb you and make you feel happy.
Build-in some “me” time
This links with the point above. Make sure you have time to yourself if Christmas is a very social time for you. No-one can keep up the sociability 24/7 so take some time-out when you need to. Having down-time helps recharge our batteries so we can enjoy the up times more.
Make some time for exercise
This doesn’t mean having to go to the gym or run a half marathon! Exercise releases endorphins which help us to feel happier. Go for a walk, a cycle ride or dance round the kitchen – whatever you enjoy.
Manage your expectations
Expecting that everything will be perfect is bound to lead to disappointment. Christmas can be a lovely and special time but it helps to keep realistic. Allow others to muck in and help where possible, so it’s a joint venture.
Take opportunities to rest
Life can be busy so, holiday time can be a much-needed chance to catch up on a bit of R and. R. Having said that, Christmas can be a demanding time, especially if you’re hosting. Remember to use your assertiveness skills on occasions to say no in order to help pace yourself.
Organise some support in advance
Christmas is still several days away so there’s still time to organise some support. Think about small things or people which will make it better for you and what steps you can take to put some of those in place.
Find some meaning
Meaning comes in all shapes and forms – for some of course Christmas has religious meaning, for others it’s secular. Focus on what’s meaningful for you, whether it’s time for family and friends, an opportunity to pause and reflect or simply a chance to rest and recharge. If you’re on your own, spend the time doing exactly what YOU feel like.
Be kind to yourself
This will be different for each of us. It might mean letting yourself indulge for a few days, letting go of guilt and accepting you can only do so much, asking for support or simply nipping off for a relaxing bath.
However you approach it, I hope it’s a good one for you.
- Michèle Lazarus became a Solution-Focused Hypnotherapist in 2013 after experiencing how hypnotherapy helped her make changes in her own life. Her past career was as a counsellor and management trainer in a variety of health and social wellbeing roles in the NHS and the not-for-profit sector.