Ahh Christmas, the season of giving, of family, friends and joy. Sparkly lights strung from door to door, Mariah blaring through the speakers and delicious treats as far as the eye can see.
BUT, if we are being honest, and that is the only way to be, it is also a time of emotional chaos.
From being put in situations of seeing relatives you really don't want to see, having to share where you're at in life with people who probably don't care, worrying over budgets and then all the way to fighting your way through carparks with what seems like the most impatient bunch of humans (queue a few horn beeps please).
It is A LOT, and more often then not, involves a few tears here and there -let it out! Feel what you need to feel.
Over the years I have put together my little bag of tricks when it comes to dealing with the added holiday pressures, and I thought I might share!
Here are my top 4:
1. Bathroom Breathers
Now this is my go-to all year round and it is exactly as it sounds. Let me set the scene, Aunty K is on your back about your life choices again. Frankly, she is giving you the opinion you never asked for and it seems like there is no escaping.
But wait, there is. "I am so sorry, I am busting to go to the bathroom, I am going to have to excuse myself" - and you are in the clear. It's not school, they won't make you stay in a situation if you are bouncing around saying you really need to pee.
The thing is, you don't need to pee, you need a mental break from the audacity of some people.
When you get to the bathroom, lock the door behind you and find somewhere to sit. Take in deep belly breaths, or do your box breathing to fight through the clouds that are filling your mind and to find a sense of clarity and peace within the moment.
When we take time to deeply breath, we see things differently. We realise that Aunty K is not attacking us personally, she is reflecting all that she knows on us and even though it may not come off that way, she really does care. Remember that we all are mirrors, projecting on others what we feel within.
You spend some time breathing, you splash some water behind your neck, and then look in the mirror and remind yourself that you are strong, loved and doing the best you can.
After this you can go back out there and get through the rest of the day. Luck might have it that Aunty K has gone off to chat to someone else and you have bypassed the awkward conversation entirely.
You are welcome.
2. Accept what you can and can't control.
As humans we have this constant need to control what is around us and when we are in situations of not being able to determine the outcome, we panic more. The thing is, having complete control is impossible, I don't even think it exists.
So when things go off course, when the plan is not working and when your expectations fall short, remember to pause, breathe and shift your perspective.
Rather than focusing on all that is going "wrong", look at what you CAN control.
What are the things that you can do to help the situation, or to feel more comfortable. Focus on that and move forward.
And if it's not a situation that is happening around you, but instead words being said, let it go. Remember that even though the words may not be kind, they aren't actually a reflection of you, but a reflection of the person who said what was said.
It is time to be a little kinder on ourselves, there is only so much we can control, our emotions and reactions being some of them, focus on that.
3. Remember that "No" is in your vocabulary.
This time of year is an overload as it is, from packed schedules to too much food. Remember that is is ok to say no to things.
You don't have to go to every gathering, every dinner, every party. You also don't need to partake in all the KK circles that seem to happen as well.
It is important to not push ourselves past our means, emotionally, physically and even in terms of money (budgets are there for a reason).
You can't be everywhere at once and do all the things without hitting a wall at some point.
It is ok to say no, I promise.
4. Be mindful about what you eat and drink.
I am speaking purely from personal experience here, but there is a disaster mix brewing when you overload and blend the following together:
- Excessive sugar
- Excessive caffeine
- Excessive alcohol
- Lack of sleep
I don't know about you, but these 4 things lead to a mound of anxious emotions that take weeks to recover from. Is it really worth it?
Know your limits and stick to them as best as you can. Now it's a given that there will be days that you do have a bit too much of one or the other. So when this happens, don't get cranky with yourself, instead recognise how you feel and do something serving for yourself in response.
Go have a really big drink of water, eat something nutritious, excuse yourself for a walk to stretch your legs a little, have an early night...
OR, just call it a day and start fresh the next.