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Calm at Christmas – Top Ten Tips

Are you feeling anxious or stressed at this time of year? For many people Christmas is a time when they feel as though there are so many pressures to be having “the best time” and living the movie version of what Christmas should be like. The reality can be a lot more difficult, maybe you are experiencing memories of difficult Christmases in the past; a feeling of overload or responsibility; possibly anger and fear around the restrictions of Covid – 19 etc. Whatever you’re feeling at the moment hopefully my Top Ten Tips for a calmer and more peaceful Christmas may help. 1. Visualise Start by picturing the kind of Christmas that you want focusing on what you can control and the freedoms that you do have. Looking back at previous years can lead to negativity, frustration and anger. Make your vision for this year as clear as possible and share your thoughts with those that are close to you. Let your calendar and to do list reflect the kind of Christmas that you have pictured. 2. Saying No Decide on what you really want and be ready to say “No” to those things you’re not comfortable doing, either through lack of time, money or through wanting to be cautious and safe. A calm “No thank you” with a smile may be preferable to going ahead with something that is going to cause you stress and anxiety. 3. Connection This year you may not be able to see all those you love in person. Find ways that you can connect with your loved ones through phone, letter, Facetime etc. 4. Personalise Let your plans reflect what is right for you and yours rather than the “Instagram” or “Disney” version of the perfect Christmas. Maybe a PJ day with your favourite pizza is right for you. 5. Share the load Thinking about your Christmas decide on ways to share the load. You don’t have to do everything yourself. Let your loved ones know what help you need and ask them to help before you feel overloaded. 6. Budget Decide on your budget at the outset and keep a note of everything you spend. Impulse buys either on line or in the shops can give us a momentary lift or boost but may not feel as worthwhile when the festive season is over. Thoughtful gifts do not have to cost the earth, maybe there is something you could make? Homemade biscuits or handwriting and framing a beautiful poem can show your love and thoughts without breaking the bank 7. Shortcuts Where you can take any shortcuts that will help you to have more time with your loved ones. Aim to be truly present in your interractions with your loved ones rather than feeling too busy to engage. Our memories are made of people, smiles, laughter not on whether the sprouts were frozen or fresh. 8. Avoid conflict This year more than most there are sensitive topics that may cause conflict if discussed around the dinner table on Christmas Day. It may be worth considering what these tricky subjects are and sending a light hearted message to your family beforehand agreeing which topics to avoid. 9. Kindness Look out for those in your family or community who are struggling at the moment. By reaching out to others it can help us shift our focus from our own worries and anxieties and to make a difference to those around us. 10. Self-Care It is easy when we are feeling anxious or bombarded by adverts on the TV to drink more alcohol than normal and to eat more indulgent foods. Whilst we can enjoy occasional indulgences, too much of “a good thing” can leave us feeling sluggish or even more anxious. Find time to wrap up warm and have a walk in nature. Take a moment or two to relax and/ or meditate. Try to get enough sleep and aim to keep to your normal sleep routine. I hope you find these tips useful and that you're able to find some peace this Christmas time. The 5 minute meditation below may help you to find a window of calm in your life. If you would like more help and support please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Wishing you all a happy and peaceful Christmas.

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