NE Life Coach Managing Christmas Stress
I’m sitting in Cullercoats Coffee as I write this, looking at a gorgeous wood fire and wonderful Christmas Tree and feeling completely free from Christmas stress.. It’s a lovely place. It’s like a rather eclectic and extremely diverse family. People of all ages and backgrounds come here and each is treated as an individual; usual orders remembered and a warm welcome offered to all.
It started me thinking about the people I’ve met here and how each week we have a wee check in with each other. We only know each other from this coffee shop. This is the only place we see each other but it has developed into a lovely relaxed family feel but without all the stress of a family gathering!
Family Gatherings and Christmas Stress
Family gatherings can be one of the most stressful events that happen over the Christmas period or at any time to be honest! Some folk love Christmas and it is truly a time for relaxation, celebration and family. It’s a time of laughter, joyful reminiscing, celebration and creating new memories.
For others, it’s a reminder of loss. It can be a time of increased anxiety, depression and confusion. This is often coupled with a huge desire to avoid other family members. and a desire to avoid other family members. Some family members don’t get along which can lead to conflict, resentment and avoidance. Often, we are ‘forced’ to spend time with family members who we simply don’t like and don’t have anything in common with and quite possibly feel the same about us. I guess families are just like other relationships; there are those people we connect with and those we don’t.
What causes Christmas Stress?
Well this list could be endless couldn’t it? Everything from unresolved family issues, financial pressure, recent loss of a loved one, overbearing family members and often unrealistic expectations as well as the burden of trying to hold on to tradition not to mention our own perfectionist tendencies!
My invitation to you this year is to step back, breathe and focus on what works for you. What will help you enjoy your Christmas?
Have you planned some time in the day when you can focus on your own needs? This isn’t being selfish; it’s self-care and it’s ensuring that you and your family enjoy the best of you. It can be as simple as stepping outside for a few minutes of fresh air, or better still a family walk. The scent of lemon can reduce stress and anxiety and the scent of oranges can give our energy a boost. Keep the oranges and lemons handy or use a tissue dabbed with the essential oil. I’ve been trying this over the last few weeks and it really does work!
Consider focusing on your breathing for 3 minutes, notice it, notice what is going on inside you. Remember it doesn’t matter if dinner is late; mine once ran 2 hours late and no-one cared because we laughed and had so much fun (ok, so the gin, peach schnapps, orange juice and champagne cocktail helped). Everyone was involved. All guests took on a ‘role’, someone was in charge of timing the roast potatoes, another making the gravy, another most importantly keeping the cocktails flowing, someone else in charge of music, someone strong to mash the carrot and swede (although now I would take the easy route and buy it from M&S haha).
As well as running late there was also about an hour’s gap between courses and no-one cared!! It was one of the happiest and fun-filled days I have ever experienced. No stress, just lots and lots of laughter.
Remember – You don’t need to do it all yourself.
Your family and guests want to spend time with you; they want to enjoy your
Since the beginning of December, I’ve been running #DecemberDestress in my facebook group. Each day a tip on managing your stress levels, too many to list here. Feel free to pop along to the group, it’s free, helpful and we have some fun too!
If you are alone on Christmas, either through loss or choice, it’s ok to set new traditions or try new things. You don’t need to hang on or try to recreate old traditions. Change is ok and of course, it’s ok to not be ok! If you are dealing with loss, changing what you do on Christmas day doesn’t mean you are forgetting someone, perhaps you can view it as celebrating them in a new way? I would invite you, whatever your circumstances, to do what is right for you. It’s a great starting point.
Whatever you are doing and wherever you are, I wish you every blessing and
joy for Christmas and the New Year.
Remember that you aren’t alone, even if it feels like it. Sarah Millican offers a great community on Christmas day called #Joinin
If you need additional support: The Samaritans
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