Am I the only one to be called a Grinch just because it’s December and I continue to live my life as usual! Surely there are other people out there that don't enjoy wearing flashing Christmas earrings and exchanging presents that no-one really needs or wants?
But here’s the thing. I really do enjoy the fact that so many people are happy at this time of year. Joyfully discussing yummy treats to make for family get-togethers, plans for that well earned Christmas break, and lots and lots of Christmas parties…..it’s heart-warming.
But what about those for whom Christmas sparks the embers of loneliness, or grief, or maybe even rage? The holiday period is well known for triggering these emotions more than any other time of year in many, many people.
If this sounds like you or someone you know, these Christmas Survival Tips may help!
Tip 1: Treat your enemy as if he were your best friend
If that irritating brother-in-law has criticised you relentlessly in the past, there’s a good chance he’ll do it again at this year's family function.
Realise that the better someone feels about themselves, the better they will treat you.
So, the next time you encounter your ‘trigger person’, ask yourself what can you do to help boost their self-esteem? Show an interest in their achievements, complement them on their appearance, etc. I know this is the exact opposite of what you want to do but it works. Try it and see.
Tip 2: Avoid too much alcohol
You may feel that the wine is all that is getting you through a dysfunctional family Christmas, however alcohol lowers your inhibitions and heightens emotions. It can provoke reactions that you will regret later. Slow it right down and stay in control.
Tip 3: Notice your physical response
When we start to get stressed, we initiate the Fight or Flight response in our body. You may notice a rapid heart beat, sweaty palms, shallow breathing and an overwhelming unpleasant emotion beginning somewhere in the body.
If this happens, excuse yourself and find a quiet place to calm down. Breathe in slowly for the count of 5 (imagine you are breathing into the place where the emotion is held in the body), hold for a moment and breathe out slowly to the count of 10. Keep going till you feel a shift.
Tip 4: Don't do Christmas
If you absolutely hate Christmas because you associate it with sadness, grief or you just don’t want to celebrate it, then….. just don’t do it!
Yes you can absolutely choose the occasions you wish to celebrate! Even though clever marketing executives have convinced 99.9% of your friends and family that celebrating this particular holiday is normal behaviour,
I’m here to tell you that you are the boss of you!
Choose something completely non-Christmassy to do on the day.
Tip 5: Be Grateful
Keep your focus on what you are enjoying at this time. Is it the delicious food, time off work, the excitement of small children?
Notice what makes you happy and dwell on that!
I hope you enjoy yourself this December whether or not you choose to celebrate Christmas.
After all, every day is worth a celebration and an opportunity for connection.... is it not?