‘Tis the season to be jolly.
Really? Come this time of year, a lot of people feel anything but joyful.
Whether it’s anxiety about finding the right outfit for the Christmas Party, feeling rotten because you have a cold and the weather isn’t helping, or getting aches and pains as winter plays havoc with joints and the weather is grim, for some, Christmas is a challenging time, especially if you are lonely and don’t conform to the stereotypes of the season.
Christmas paints a picture of perfection, large family gatherings, the picture perfect table with stain-free happy children, the perfectly cooked turkey and endless smiles. These stereotypes are unhelpful and can provoke anxiety in those who may spend Christmas alone, or in an unhappy relationship, who are struggling to conceive or who have lost loved ones and are struggling to cope with bereavement. Some will have to go to work and feel guilty leaving families at home. Some families will be struggling with finances.
The ‘shame’ that you don’t meet the Christmas stereotype only adds to the pressure – so here’s a trade secret I’d like to share with you all:
There is no perfect Christmas! (Shhhh – don’t tell anyone… Tell EVERYONE!)
1. Be honest and present
Pretending you are ok when you aren’t is never a good strategy – if something sucks, it’s ok to say so, but talk about it, don’t dwell on it. Think about talking to a life coach or counsellor – and do it now, rather than putting it off. Being honest with yourself is not the same thing as judging yourself – change is a choice, not a requirement.
Be gentle on yourself and if you are alone and think you will struggle with suicidal thoughts over Christmas, keep the Samaritans number handy – so you have a coping strategy in place if you need it. View their website https://www.samaritans.org/wales/how-we-can-help/contact-samaritan/talk-us-phone/ or call them on 116123.
2. Feeling left out at the Party? Feeling ‘in’ is all a facade
As for looks – everyone feels some degree of anxiety over their appearance, we ALL like to be complimented, so don’t make it all about you!
Distract yourself from your own insecurities by finding things you like about others, and tell them – and make time to smile at people.
3. Set boundaries
4. Make plans not resolutions
As we end the year, it’s natural to think about making changes, but don’t berate yourself for the ones you haven’t made already – just make some solid plans for the things you want to change next year. Want to join a gym? Don’t wait til January to do something about it or it will just join the list of maybes. Book that Yoga class, sign up to see a dietician, join the running club, book that medical, dental or physio appointment you’ve been putting off, engage a life coach like me – do something that starts change rather than feeling guilty. Making resolutions will make you feel a failure if you don’t follow them through, so focus on planning instead and you’ll reach your goals.
5. Don’t sweat the small stuff
What’s the small stuff? It’s all small stuff. If something is stressing you out, project forward to the middle of June. When you look back, was it really so important? If you ‘failed’, where will you be in June? If the answer is not in jail, in hospital, or lying in a ditch, the chance is it isn’t important anyway, and even if it is, by not being stressed, you will be able to deal with it and make decisions more easily. Take some deep breaths, re-centre, and remember, in the grand scheme of things, Christmas is just one more day.
However you spend your Christmas, I wish you contentment, happiness and fulfilment.
About the author
South Wales Life Coach Jason works with individuals and men’s therapy groups in Cardiff, Bridgend, Porthcawl, Neath Port Talbot and Swansea, helping them transform their lives, letting go of anxiety, stress, addictions and compulsive behaviour using Life Coaching, EFT, Mind-Body Therapy, Career Coaching and support. For more information, visit Jason’s website: https://contentedlifecoaching.com/