If the sights and sounds of Christmas evoke dread, anxiety or depression, you’re certainly not alone. It’s likely that many of your friends, family members, workmates and neighbors experience similar emotions. There’s just so much to do — last-minute shopping for the perfect gifts, food shopping, decorating the home, organizing the family get togethers, cards, more shopping, where to hide the presents so prying eyes won’t find them and the cost of it all! — it goes on and on. It’s enough to make you want to run and hide!......hey, take a break and consider a strategy for enjoying Christmas with a minimum of struggle, and a little joy...
Here are some suggestions that might help:
Whatever it is about Christmas that’s got you out of sorts, imagine whether that same concern will be bothering when the festivities are over and you are well into the new year and you probably won’t even recall the gut-wrenching emotions in one or 10 years’ time. This helps you build a cushion against mounting anxiety and creates a little space you can use to safely navigate the season.
Instead of fixating on bigger and larger quantities, make a conscious effort to downsize. This goes for the number of gifts you buy, the number and types of social engagements you accept or invite others to attend. Trying to get the very best deal on a much-wanted item and so much more. After all, it isn’t, or shouldn’t be, how expensive or exclusive something is. Concentrate on giving from the heart.
Stop feeling you have to be perfect.
It doesn’t have to be the party of the year. You don’t need to be the host whose event is talked about for months to come. If you can make yourself believe that you don’t have to be perfect, you’ll alleviate a lot of stress and accumulated tension. Your digestion will likely benefit as well, since your stomach won’t be tied up in knots over trying to insist on perfection.
Create something lasting.
If you’ve lost a loved one and the holidays are too painful, consider creating something lasting for the remaining family members and loved ones in your life. This could be a family scrapbook, a handwritten letter you put in a “time capsule” of sorts. In their memory bring joy to the lonely, surprise your elderly neighbor with a home-cooked meal.
Give to yourself
Remember that it’s the thought that counts. If you give something to yourself with love, you will remember and appreciate it. You’ll also have a warm spot in your heart knowing you’ve helped bring a little joy to yourself as well as others.
Everyone has regrets. You likely have some as well. If you’re beating yourself up for being inconsiderate, not living up to your word, being rude or impatient or mean to others, spending too much money, neglecting your responsibilities, or drinking too much, now is the time for a little self-forgiveness. Your desire to make positive changes actually begins with forgiving yourself. There’s no better time of the year to start than right now.
Watch your diet
Overindulging in food or drink during Christmas is a surefire way to suffer repercussions later. Not only will you feel remorse, you may have other consequences as a result. By paying mindful attention to what you put into your mouth, you’ll be doing yourself a huge favor, now and later. To thrive during the festivities, exercise discretion and make wise choices in food and drink.
Finally, this is the season to be thankful. And you’ve got a lot to be grateful for, regardless of how much you’ve thought about it. You’re alive, for one thing and one thing only. Life is precious.
Every day you are on this earth is another opportunity to make a difference, to celebrate life and the deliciousness of living. It won’t come by this way again, so make the most of today. Adopt an attitude of gratitude and you’ll really begin to thrive this Christmas.