5 tips to have a stress free Christmas
Its that time of the year again! Are you beginning to feel your anxiety levels rise? Your list is getting longer and you are getting more stressed. If this sound like you maybe it's time to breathe and take stock.
Christmas can be a wonderful time of the year but for many its an added pressure on top of their normal demands. Adverts tell us we need the perfect Christmas which means we have to have the perfect food, give the perfect presents, have a perfect house and to top it all look perfect ourselves!
Counsellors often help clients get over their external critical messages that usually start with a must, ought or should. I believe that Christmas, more than any other time of the year, brings these to the fore.
Before we get too hooked in and overwhelmed by it all it may be helpful to look at the following 5 tips to help with looking out for those SHOULDS, OUGHTS and MUSTS!
1. Whose approval really matters? Ask ourselves who are we doing it all for. When you break it down do we have to care so much about what grumpy Great Aunt Matilda thinks of us when probably she would find something to moan about anyway whatever we did. We cannot please everyone all the time- its impossible and you will just tire yourself out trying.
2. Is it time for a change? Christmas is a time when traditions seem very important but its no good doing things exactly the same year after year if they are no longer working or the best option. Have a long hard think about what routines and habits you do and are they still useful? It maybe time to shake things up a bit and do something different.
3. Accept your vulnerabilities and concentrate on your strengths. What is the point of spending hours in the kitchen if you hate cooking? Or forcing yourself to do hand made cards if you don't enjoy it! Don't beat yourself about it and just do what you enjoy and cut back the other stuff to a minimum.
4. Don't push yourself financially. Spending more doesn't mean you or others will be happier. If you asked most people what they had last year they probably wouldn't remember but ask them where they were and who they were with and they will (try it). So expensive presents are not that important especially if its going to create anxiety for you.
5. Be yourself! Accept who you are and what you can do. Ask for help because you don't have to do it all! It does not make you a bad person because everything isn't perfect. Take time out for yourself when you need it and remember we are only human. We get it wrong sometimes and that it is ok. Once we accept that we can start to relax knowing we don't have to live up to some advertisers dream of the perfect home with the perfect family living the perfect dream. Its nonsense. Its just one big ought, should and must and we don't need to listen anymore!
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