Christmas is a time for festive fun and family dinners – being more mindful will help avoid roasting the emotions – as well as the turkey.
In preparing for all the other things we feel is necessary for our holiday celebrations; spending a little time coming home to ourselves, examining (kindly) our true feelings, can lead to healthier emotions round the festive tree. Recent research shows that 25 per cent of people find the Christmas dinner experience as stressful as their wedding day.
To avoid frazzling during the frenzied festive period, they need to put as much effort into preparing themselves mindfully (mentally) as they do decorating their house, buying the presents, stocking up on food and putting the final bits of tinsel on the tree.
Families failing to get themselves in the right frame of mind for Christmas may cook up a recipe for disharmony and an emotionally fraught few days.
In theory, Christmas should be a time to relax and enjoy the company of loved ones without having to worry about the stresses of work. Too often the furious pace of the buildup and the holiday period itself can leave many with lower tolerance; fatigued and frustrated.
My Top Tips
So rather than joining the sprouts in boiling over, use these tips to have a cool Yule:
- Only spend what is truly affordable; avoiding a massive credit card bill, with its high interest rates, to pay off for the next few months.
- Buy gifts with true intent and forethought.
- Give without expecting anything in return – in giving without expectations. It is possible to give with true intent, and this reduces emotive negative responses to our expectations.
- There is real and sincere pleasure in simply giving.
- If it didn’t work last year, does it make sense to want to do the same this Christmas?
- Be prepared – buy things in advance – reduce any last-minute rushes.
- Only buy what’s really need; the shops will all be open again within 24 hours.
- Most importantly, be kind to yourself and be mindful… and loved ones may just get the best Christmas ever!
- Do what really pleases, rather than what is expected (as long as it’s reasonable and people know why).
The reality of Christmas is too often far removed from the idyllic picture people build up in their minds ahead of December 25.
A roaring fire, the delighted cries of joy from excited children unwrapping their presents, sitting round the table eating traditional Christmas fare before watching the best the TV schedules can offer us – and all is well with the world.
But is it really? A burst of initial excitement, unrealised gift payback expectations, and the introduction of alcohol and excess food consumption in an enclosed environment with loved ones (and less than loved ones) and things may start to get a little tense!
Mindfulness and Realism
I recommend a dose of mindfulness, and realism, enters the seasonal preparations. Make sure everyone can keep smiling.
Is it realistic to expect to start (and finish) these annual events with peace, harmony and warmth? Or even love for one another, coupled with an ever-so-potent dash of gratitude for all we have? Maybe not, unless prepared emotionally and mentally. But it is possible, when allowing a little more space in our lives building up to Christmas, and at other times too – in other words, when some mindfulness is practised and adopted.
In preparing for all the other things felt necessary for the holiday celebrations, spending a little time coming home to ourselves and examining (kindly) true feelings can lead to healthier emotions around the festive tree, and reduce the loss of emotional control that can result in the fallouts.
When we slow down, even just a little, and focus on our presence (be here, now), are kind to ourselves in mind and body, then our loved ones will notice peace in ourselves and appreciate some higher tolerance levels.
Bob Brotchie is a counsellor, mindset consultant and creator of "Conscious Living by Design"™. He writes for Anglia Counselling, is featured on various other websites and introduces us to many guest writers all covering topics related to mental health and wellbeing.
Bob provides bespoke counselling services to individuals and couples in the privacy and comfort of a truly welcoming environment at his Anglia Counselling company office, located near Newmarket in Suffolk, England. Bob also provides professional online counselling, for local, national, and international clients. The therapeutic models offered are bespoke to the client’s needs, especially those in receipt of 'childhood emotional neglect' (CEN), whilst integrating a mindful approach to psychotherapy and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) principles. For clients experiencing trauma and/or phobia, Bob offers EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing).