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Calm Christmas

How to Stay Calm this Christmas

Sometimes no matter how hard we try, it can be difficult to stay calm during the Christmas period. Even though we work hard to create a Christmas free of stress and conflict, the pressure and tension can get the better of us.

 

This year has been challenging in more ways than we could have imagined, so as you move towards the end of the year you might notice feelings of frustration, regret, worry, or fear bubbling to the surface.

For those who have lost someone they love or had a relationship end, Christmas can be a sad and lonely time and even a period of reflecting. All sorts of painful and uncomfortable feelings can arise around the festive season, especially when there are complicated family dynamics involved.

Finding ways to take care of yourself is so important, especially at this time of year. Create a solid plan and take a preventative approach to looking after yourself before things get too difficult or out of control.

 

Here are a few of my top tips to help you stay calm this Christmas:

 

Create space for yourself

This time of year often involves spending extra time with other people at dinners, parties, and family visits. If you’re someone who needs to recuperate by having time on your own, give some thought to ways that you can consciously create space for yourself. Getting outside and connecting with nature can be an effective way of re-energizing. And give yourself permission to take a break when you need it by maybe curling up with a good book, listening to calming music or having an afternoon nap.

 

Create boundaries

If you’re feeling anxious about spending time with particular people during Christmas, then it’s important to create boundaries to protect yourself. Consider limiting the amount of time you spend with those people. Plan ahead to take a time-out before you reach a point where you feel suffocated, overwhelmed or whatever emotion rears its head for you in this type of situation.

Be aware of your emotions and how you are feeling.  Take note of the negative thoughts passing through your mind.  These are your red flags to take a breather and step back.

If you have a pattern of people-pleasing, it might be worth thinking about how much you’re willing to sacrifice in order to put others first. Putting limits around taking care of others can bring up feelings of guilt, but not protecting yourself can lead to resentment, burn-out, and passive-aggressive behavior.  Schedule a few fun things for yourself so your needs or preferences don’t fall to the bottom of the list.

 

Stay connected to what matters most to you

It’s all too easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of end-of-year functions, shopping, wrapping, cooking, and everything else we need to do to prepare for Christmas Day. As you work your way through your to-do list consider ways that you can stay connected to the bigger picture. Take time to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas and what really matters to you.

 

Use your five senses to bring yourself into the present moment

During hectic periods like Christmas, we tend to spend a large portion of our time up in our heads worrying about the future and rehashing the past. When we get swept up in the mind we miss the beauty and simplicity of everyday things like having a good chat or feeling the sun on our face.

One of the most effective ways to anchor yourself in the here-and-now is to tune into your five senses. So when you notice yourself getting carried off by thoughts, bring yourself back to the present moment by deliberately focusing your attention on what you can see, hear, taste, smell, and touch. For example, as you’re eating lunch look and see all the colors on your plate, smell the delicious sauce, enjoy the texture and taste of the food as you eat it slowly, feel the joy around you, listen to the kid’s laughter. Soak it all up and this will help you stay calm this Christmas.

At first, the idea of tuning into your five senses might seem a little strange. Give it a shot though. It’s surprisingly satisfying. You’ll experience the world around you in a different way. And there’s the added bonus of getting a break from the chatter of your mind!

Have a mindful conversation

It’s so satisfying when you’re chatting away to someone and you are both genuinely listening to each other. Try to consciously create mindful conversations with the people around you this Christmas. Take the time to really listen to what the other person is saying, not just their words but also through their body language, and eye contact, be fully present. Notice how it feels to simply listen without offering advice, or an opinion, or thinking about what you’ll say next. You might enjoy reading this book  The Lost Art of Listening

 

Calm your mind by calming your breath

If you notice your buttons being pushed by a particular situation or person, or you just need to pause for a moment, one of the most effective ways to put the brakes on is to focus on your breath.

When you become overwhelmed by strong thoughts or emotions your breathing changes. Typically, it becomes shallow (from your chest rather than your stomach) and faster. Some people even hold their breath slightly. These changes disrupt the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body. This imbalance then fuels the fight-flight response and can leave you feeling dizzy, light-headed, confused, breathless, tense, flushed, or even nauseous. It becomes difficult to think in a rational way because the part of your brain responsible for thinking clearly has effectively frozen.

There are a number of different techniques you can use to calm your breathing and thus relax the mind.  I love the teachings of Wim Hof, check out his video here BREATHING TECHNIQUE 

It’s always more effective to learn any new skill under ideal rather than stressful circumstances, so when you first start practicing breathing exercises it’s best to do it when you feel relatively calm.

If you would like help with any of the above, reach out and ask I’m me.  Book in a time that suits you on my calendar. I look forward to hearing from you.

Wishing you and your family a happy, healthy, and calm Christmas.

You might be interested in reading some of my previous blogs; take a look at these.

Affirmations

ENDING THE YEAR ON A HIGH

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