Welcome to December. Now., this month. Can be really joyous. Or really stressful? It really depends. On your mindset. Perhaps events of the past have ruined the festive season for you. Whatever your feelings are for this time of year. You don’t want to be stressed or miserable unnecessarily. Love it or hate it Christmas will soon be upon us.
If you don’t like Christmas. Have you ever really thought? Why? Perhaps your parents never liked it and you have just followed in that same mindset. Or your memories of Christmases when you were young, were, not so Happy. Or perhaps like me? Other people in the household don’t like. Christmas. And you struggle with their moods.
Growing up as a child I loved Christmases. Family would pop over. Games were played. Drinks would be had. Neighbours would pop in. Even the milkman. Decorated his float. And on Christmas Eve his bottles would rattle as he came down the street. And as a child, that was a magical memory for me. However. As we grow older. Trying to recreate that magic. It’s not always possible. Times change. People change. Families get bigger and they do their own thing. So trying to relive that childhood Christmas becomes impossible. I love the build up to Christmas. I start my Christmas playlist on the 1st of December. To the annoyance of others in my house. I try to get the decorations up as early as possible, in December of course. I try my best to recreate the magic. The fun, the laughter. But it never really works.
If I had my way, the television wouldn’t go on on Christmas Day. The Christmas tunes will be playing loud around the house. Drinks would be flowing. (not for me as I don’t drink, but that doesn’t bother me) The dinner would be cooking. And stupid games would be played. Too much food will be ate, Perhaps too much drink will be drunk. But fun would be had.
But that’s not how it will be. We will have breakfast. We will open the presents. And then the stress starts.
So how do I, not let the stress ruin. My Christmas?
Love it or loathe it, there’s no denying that the ‘season to be jolly’ is, for many, the ‘season to be super stressed’. Christmas can be a magical time, but it can also be the one time of year that takes the biggest toll on our mental health.
Christmas induced pressure can be horrendous. Pressure to have a great time, the pressure to look amazing, the pressure to buy the best presents, the pressure to avoid weight gain, the pressure to see all your family and friends. And the pressure to do it all with a big smile on your face as you go round spreading festive cheer.
Sound achievable? Of course not.
The strain on us to have a fantastic time for just one day in itself sets us up for an almighty fall. All around us are images of people seemingly happy in huge families, cosy couple and big social groups. We compare and we despair!
According to the Stress Management Society, one in 20 people considers Christmas more stressful than a burglary, and over half of Britons will have had an alcoholic drink before lunch on Christmas day to try to cope with the stress.
As a hypnotherapist, the key piece of advice I would give right now is to get to work on changing those patterns that have created Christmas stress in the past, so that you can create a Christmas that will leave you feeling fulfilled, settled, content and ready for 2022.
The key concept is that our thoughts, feelings and behaviour are all interconnected and that by understanding them and increasing awareness of our negative behaviour and emotional patterns, we can alter them and improve our wellbeing. In a nutshell, it’s about changing unhelpful patterns into more helpful patterns.
What is Stress?
Tips To Tackle Christmas Stress
Write it out: Putting pen to paper and writing a list of the things you find most unmanageable about Christmas helps you to really hone in on the problem areas. We can’t change things unless we become more aware of them and are willing to acknowledge the issues they are causing. Everyone’s trigger points will be different but awareness is the first point of change. Planning comes next! Write down your goals and plan, in manageable steps, how you will reach them. When we write down our goals we are 10 times more likely to achieve them.
Seeing friends: It might not always feel that way but, by nature, we humans are social beings and feeling connected is a major part of our wellbeing. This means personal contact – actually seeing people – rather than relying on social media to manage our friendships. Feeling connected with people we are close too lowers stress levels and also improves our immunity, so will help you fight the winter bugs too.
Lower expectations: We all need to lower our expectations on having a fantastic time, and ultimately setting ourselves up for major disappointment. This doesn’t just apply to Christmas time; we are guilty of expecting too much year-round, on a multitude of things. If we want to feel a certain way then you have to monitor the ways you don’t want to feel. Having more flexibility in our expectations around how we feel will give us more resilience when things don’t go to plan.
To do lists: My advice would to write your list of things to do, prioritise it, and half it. We are generally very bad at overestimating what we can achieve in the time we have, ultimately creating huge stress for ourselves.
Plan you’re downtime: Whilst many of us are great at scheduling all the things we need to do, not so many of us are good at booking in some downtime. Take time to yourself, or spend days and hours with your family and friends or doing the things you love. Christmas is a holiday time after all.
Shop online: Not to take anything away from local traders but with what’s happening in the world at the moment the best best idea for your own mental health is online shopping. Throngs of crowds, traffic jams, and mile-long queues at the tills are not good for stress levels! Shopping from the comfort of your own home usually means saving time and money, and always means protecting stress levels. Set a date and do it in one go.
So the bottom line. If you had great Christmases as a child, remember them with gratitude, they will stay in your head and heart forever. If you weren’t so lucky, realise you are the adult now and you can make the Christmas what you want. Don’t let your Children or Grandchildren grow up dreading this magical time of year.
PS. Need some Stocking Fillers? Books available by Jon Can I Change? a book to help you handle your anxiety on a daily basis. 100 days in isolation a fun book for both adults and children showing the funnier side of lockdown.
Now Available. A solution to give you that instant Stress relief or boost of confidence, where you need it, when you need it. Update & Reboot. A gift to yourself. Just £50.00 Purchase here.
Have a great one whatever you do. Stay safe, Stay well and enjoy.
I will see you in 2022
Best wishes and Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to you all.
Jon Adkin BAHyp Clinical Hypnotherapist and IEMT Practitioner.
Find Jon on Facebook, Instagram, You tube and TikTok.