With the holiday season fast approaching, Christmas is a time of great celebration. People gather together to eat, drink and have fun. But for many, the festive season can also be stressful, lonely, expensive and overshadowed by disagreements. The added pressure to attend social functions and smile through the overwhelm can be exhausting. Grief and loss are accentuated, especially for those navigating through their first Christmas since the death of a loved one. Put any combination of these factors together, and it’s no wonder that people find it hard to keep themselves together.
To move through this challenging period with more ease and grace, follow these five tips:
1. Nurture Yourself
Spend time doing things that bring you joy and make you feel better. Whether it’s curling up in front of the fire with a hot drink, hanging out with friends, taking a yoga class, relaxing in the bath or reading your favourite book, make sure you prioritise you. Christmas is a time for love and generosity, so begin with nurturing yourself and listening to what your body needs.
2. Walk in Nature
Go outside for a short walk, even if it’s cold. Exercise releases endorphins which immediately shift stagnant energy and lift your mood. Pay attention to the sound of birds, the rustling of leaves and the crisp morning air. While you’re immersed in nature, it’s easier to tune out the self-criticism that may be playing on repeat in your mind. Nature brings calm, helps you connect more deeply to yourself and make better decisions.
3. Be Realistic
You can’t be in five different places at the same time, even if you want to. So, don’t set yourself up to fail; you’re not a superhero. Prioritise your diary and stick to it, even if friends or family try to coerce you into squeezing in another social engagement. Schedule in rest and recuperation time to ensure you’re not running on empty or falling sick when you should be enjoying yourself. If you struggle to say no, read tip four.
4. Say No
Do you find yourself saying yes to social functions to keep the peace? Unfortunately putting others needs before your own creates conflict within yourself. So how do you turn down an invitation without hurting someone’s feelings? Deliver this simple phrase with love and kindness: “Unfortunately, I can’t make it, but I hope you have a fantastic time.” Know that it’s okay to not want to do something, and there’s no need to substantiate your response with a long list of reasons. Giving yourself permission to say no is such a gift, it’s exceptionally liberating. You hold the key to make this change and show others the way to follow in your footsteps. Remember life is short, so live it for you, not everyone else.
5. Natural Therapies
If Christmas is particularly stressful, try an alternative therapy to help you find balance. Acupuncture, aromatherapy, reflexology or reiki are just a few of the many options available. Reiki, pronounced ‘ray-key’, is a natural energy-balancing method of healing, and one that has fundamentally changed my life and those around me. Accessed through non-invasive gentle touch, this ‘spiritual energy’ enhances the body’s natural self-healing ability, increases energy levels and promotes relaxation and wellbeing. Treating body, mind and spirit, reiki also develops spiritual and personal growth. What a fantastic way to gently move into 2019.
However you get through this period, remember to treat yourself and others with kindness. Look out for family and friends, but don’t forget to take care of you in the process. If you fall apart, often those around you will too. Give yourself permission to take that time out to recharge. The holiday season is not a race or a popularity contest. Regardless of how you celebrate and who with, 2019 will still arrive. And one final tip, if all else fails, breathe!