TWO FACTORS THAT ADD TO STRESS DURING CHRISTMAS ARE:
1. The effect of social media.
We have a love/hate relationship with social media and for good reason. It can cause us to feel less able, less important, less successful. Remember that every picture does not tell the story. Sometimes it takes many attempts to get every-one smiling!
2. Facing change and loss.
There are complex situations that add a degree of difficulty that make it hard to tolerate too. The first Christmas without a child, parent, partner or friend can be overwhelming. It is vital that you take care. It is at times like these that support is needed and asking for help is necessary as people can be slow to offer sometimes (not wanting to intrude) but will often respond if asked.
TIPS TO HAVE A STRESS-FREE CHRISTMAS. 1. Preparation.
• Do what you can in the days before so that calmness reigns.
• Accept offered help; people like to feel useful.
• Ask for help; don’t be a martyr, sometimes helping enables guests to feel more comfortable.
Know your limitations.
• It is vital to keep a sense of perspective.
• Do they really need all those toys to be content and complete? So, beware of getting caught up in the hype.
• Do you really need to be the singing, dancing host? Sometimes short cuts really work. It is possible to cheat in preparation and it be a total success. This will challenge the perfectionist, but more complicated doesn’t mean better if you are stretched already.
• Excess alcohol can complicate situations.
• It can create a sense of bravado that can back-fire.
• Used as a confidence booster, it only takes one too many to tip the situation into a disaster.
• If alcohol is a problem, ensure you have plenty of non-alcoholic alternatives. Many non-alcoholic beers look the same, so it is less obvious.
Families are complex in their make-up and visitors who don’t visit very frequently can bring up many issues.
• Keep it simple, don’t get drawn into deep and meaningful conversations that are provocative.
• Take care of ‘old stuff’ that can arise. • Try to stay in adult mode. Our inner child can arise when faced with remembered child-hood difficulties.
• Beware of comparison, since perceived success may just be a mask.
• Once again take it steady with the alcohol.
• Being with a family is not always possible. So here are a couple of final thoughts for those who are alone.
• Look out for those who are alone, maybe there is space for one more at your table.
• If you are single and alone, have you considered helping in a local project that provides a meal on Christmas day?
• Invite other single friends for a Christmas shared meal.
• You can have a stress-free Christmas.
Susie Flashman Jarvis is an Executive Coach and counsellor using Skype to reach clients across the globe. Susie is passionate about bringing change and is an ambassador for Restored, ending violence against women. Susie is in demand as a speaker and workshop facilitator and can be contacted at her website.