20 tips for surviving Christmas
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Harriet Frew
30th November, 20150 Comments
1. Give up on the notion of trying to please everyone this Christmas. It is an unachievable and totally impossible task.
2. The myth of the perfect Christmas exists only on the telly or in your dreams. Let go of the fantasy and focus on enjoying the holiday with all its imperfections and likely chaos.
3. Which of your own values do you wish to express at Christmas? Love, kindness, creativity? Understand the ones personally important to you and focus time and energy on them.
4. Drinking alcohol can be highly pleasurable at this festive time. Be mindful of how it affects your mood and inhibitions though.
5. You don’t have to do it all yourself this Christmas. Give yourself permission to share the work and ask for help.
6. Many people feel lonely, and at Christmas these feelings are exacerbated when the focus is all about togetherness and sharing. Reach out to friends, neighbours, family or maybe volunteer, so you have a plan for the day.
7. Now is not the time to crash diet. Instead, buy yourself a new frock or pair of shoes. Hold your head up, stand tall and smile.
8. If you feel overwhelmed with the noise, chatter and steady stream of socialising, take time out and remember to breathe.
9. Try not to ban or label foods ‘forbidden’ this Christmas as this will leave you feeling deprived. You will then be more likely to binge or over-eat later as the backlash against restraint. Decide the foods you want to enjoy. Sit down, eat slowly, savour and taste every scrumptious mouthful.
10. It is not worth getting into debt at Christmas. Take the financial burden off yourself by avoiding the lure of the material train.
11. Spend time with the people you love and enjoy being with.
12. Keep blood sugar stable by eating regularly. Avoid over-hunger and you will be less likely to over-eat at the buffet spread.
13. Adopt a positive mindset and bring this optimistic and hopeful energy to your interactions.
14. If you are spending time with young children (your own or otherwise) pause to embrace the fun and wonder of Christmas through their eyes in the midst of the festive chaos.
15. Lower your expectations. Not everyone will get on. The food might get burnt. People won’t always love their gifts. It doesn’t matter.
16. Remember to see the funny side. Humour goes a long way to improving sanity.
17. Recognise your own cherished traditions and celebrate these rather than carrying on with rituals you feel obligated to do.
18. Acceptance, tolerance, patience and understanding are all underrated. Practise and practise some more.
19. Take some time out for yourself. Go for a walk. Have some fresh air. Go and read your book for half an hour. You will feel refreshed for it.
20. Christmas day is only one day of the year. Keep this in perspective. There will be other opportunities to share time and create memories with your loved ones.
About the author
Harriet Frew is a counsellor, blogger, writer and enthusiast in supporting people with eating disorders. She has worked in the NHS; private practice and in the voluntary sector; working in the field since 1999. Harriet now works privately in Cambridge and London.
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