Merry Christmas to all of you and a safe and happy New Year to you also.
Unfortunately, not everyone has good memories connected with Christmas or New Year. Look out for those around you who are struggling with sadness or anxiety at this time of year. Offering a smile can sometimes be the most valuable thing that has happened to them all day.
For those of us who love Christmas, it can still be a time full of anxiety and obligation. It is a time that we say there is “goodwill toward man”, however it is a time that there is more homicide, suicide and just general angst on the roads and in homes.
Online Counseling Compass is the “Home” of stress management and relaxation therapy can help out by giving you the following hints to get you through this ‘beautiful’ time of year:
- Stay Mindful – be aware of where your mind is at all times. Is it here with you in the shops or the car or talking to great aunty Mary? Or is it wondering off thinking about the next chore to be done, what time did that cake have to go into the oven, where has Johnny gone now? That can be easier said than done I know so…
- Make sure you break down your interactions to short and meaning tasks – If you know you have to speak with many family members that you haven’t seen for ages, then think of a topic that you know they love and ask just one or two questions about it. Remain focussed on their replies (useful for the next interaction), interact in a meaningful manner for 5 minutes then excuse yourself to attend to the next task (checking on the turkey for example). In this way, the person feels heard and had a wonderful interesting conversation with you even if just for a short time.
- Make a list of the things you need at the shops before you step out the door – Don’t ‘wing it’ at the shops and think you will know what you need when you get there. The shops are crazy busy with long lines and you only want to have to go once! The stress of then forgetting something can be enough to topple you.
- Remember your pets – Huh? What does that have to do with stress free Christmas?? A number of things, they bring you unconditional love for starters. A stressed animal can react in ways that can create more work for you (eg run away, scratch the furniture, pee on the floor, jump on people) and that is what we are avoiding this year remember. Also, watch for what people feed your animals as many Christmas treats can be toxic to your pet and you don’t need a sick pet and a vet bill right now either. Remember to give time to the pets and they will reduce your stress too. A walk might be great for both of you, or a good scratch behind the ear (the pet.. not you)
- TAKE TIME FOR YOU – Yes this is a wonderful time of year to give to others, and it is also a wonderful time of year to give to yourself. Remember to take 5 minutes a day to do something you like to do for yourself. I recommend watching a sunset (or sunrise if you prefer) and just enjoying the change in temperature and the colours as they dance across the sky. You can do this while you are doing a task, or simply just sit for 5 minutes (tropical sunset doesn’t take very long now does it), and breathe and enjoy
I hope those little hints are a bit helpful for you and your family. Feel free to share this around if you like the tips.
Have a wonderful time whatever it is you choose to do this season.