Sunday Herald Sun - Body and Soul

How to survive Christmas without losing your mind

- STORY CLAIRE ISAAC

KEEP IT REAL

If people feel under pressure in the lead-up to an ordinary Christmas, that’s going to be magnified by a billion after the year we’ve had. We’re all exhausted, overwhelme­d and hanging on by a thread. If you thought fighting over toilet roll in March was madness, apply that reasoning to the queues at the fish market as people desperatel­y stock up. Seek less-stressful options. Your local’s prawns may be twice the price, but ask yourself: what price is your sanity?

DON’T BITE OFF MORE TURKEY THAN YOU CAN CHEW

Yes, it’s been an annus horribilis to end all, erm, annuses, but that doesn’t mean you need to finish it with a freaking gala. Just because you can see people you’ve not seen for a while doesn’t mean you should host all of them for Christmas. If the thought of the whole family descending on you for Christmas Day fills you with anxiety, make other plans. A picnic, a hotel lunch, or simply disappeari­ng without a trace may all be acceptable options.

PLAY THE IMMUNITY CARD

This is the ultimate excuse: use it to get out of events you don’t want to attend. Reunions with people you’d rather not see, lunches with $150 set menus? Blame it on the possibilit­y of compromise­d immunity (yours, or that of the people you plan to hang out with). No arguing with that.

DON’T START AN ARGUMENT OVER MONOPOLY… OR ANYTHING, FOR THAT MATTER!

As we keep saying, this year has been tough enough, so don’t add to the drama when your nephew puts a hotel on Mayfair. Let him have his moment in the property-market sun. Also, don’t nitpick when your elderly mother doesn’t want pavlova, and if your significan­t other wants to watch the Queen’s speech in the middle of dinner, for Santa (and sanity’s) sake, just go with it. If you can ho ho ho your way through the day, you will feel a ho-ho-whole lot better about it later.

Claire Isaac and Lisa

Sinclair are the co-hosts of the Playing Devil’s

Avocado podcast and co-authors of the exceptiona­l

Christmas gift, How Not

To Live Your Best Life (Are

Media, $19.99), out now.

SAGITTARIU­S (Nov 23–Dec 21)

It takes energy and skill to ride a bike. You need to balance, push the pedals and adjust the handlebars all at the same time. If you don’t do anything, you won’t go anywhere. This week holds an opportunit­y to travel a significan­t metaphoric­al distance. But if you just sit back and wait for things to get going, you won’t make progress. Do the work and you can go far. Call 1300 017 319.

CAPRICORN (Dec 22–Jan 20)

We tend to think that disputes always end with someone losing. Yet no-one can consider themselves the winner when an injustice has occurred. This week, the powerful cosmic climate enables you to correct a mistake and improve a situation that has gone pear-shaped. If you keep your sense of perspectiv­e, you can achieve this without anyone feeling hard done by. Call 1300 017 319.

AQUARIUS ( Jan 21–Feb 19)

Challenges are never easy, but they enable us to deal with other, less-problemati­c issues; we just deal with them, unhindered by the usual tendency to procrastin­ate. Although this week brings a tricky situation, it’s going to be much easier to deal with than you think. What’s more, it signals the start of a change in your fortunes. The next phase of your life brings more fun. Call 1300 017 319.

PISCES (Feb 20–Mar 20)

In one area of life you’re not being as dynamic as you’re entitled to be. You’re holding on to an old hypothesis and failing to see a plain fact that’s right before your eyes. This week brings you the courage to push through a barrier and you’ll find the nerve you need to express your opinion. And that brings such a sense of validation that you’ll feel much better, and make excellent progress. Call 1300 017 319.

ARIES (Mar 21–Apr 20)

Our ideas and emotions are affected by our hopes and our sense of who we are. These are, in turn, influenced by our experience of life, schooling, background­s and social encounters. Not to mention the influence of TV, films and books. This week, the cosmos brings you a chance to step back from a complex situation and ask yourself what you really want. You can get much closer to it. Call 1300 017 319.

TAURUS (Apr 21–May 21)

When enough time has passed, we often see the funny side of certain challenges. While some bad moments will never be able to raise a smile, mad ones are a different story and should be laughed at – particular­ly when they’re created by people who think of themselves as upholders of sense and reason. Don’t let anyone treat you with disrespect this week. Call 1300 017 319.

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