Trinity Healing’s Guide to Surviving Christmas.
Would you like some sure-fire strategies to minimise the seemingly inevitable Christmas stress-fest?
Christmas is renowned for short tempers, rushing, stress and over consumption…but it doesn’t have to be. With just a little reflection, a touch of forethought and an adjustment to your mindset, you too could be feeling happy these holidays.
December 25th is only 16 days away….yes folks, you heard it here.
But before you start to hyperventilate. Before you start adding up how much Ready Roast will set you back. And before you start wondering if its ok to just throw cash at every single person on your gift list…make a cuppa, put your feet up and take a deep breath, let’s work through this together.
There’s no need to panic. I know it sounds simplistic, but breathing properly is a super power. Right now, wherever you are, close your eyes and breathe for 10 seconds, 5 in and 5 out. Don’t even try to breath deeply, just breathe. Become consciously aware of everything about your breath; the way it feels, the sound of it, the gentle rise and fall of your chest and belly.
Now open your eyes…the chaos is still there. The baby is still screaming, or the crowds are still milling around you. You…you are ok though. You’re centered, focused and calm. Do this as many times a day as you need.
When the to-do list seems to be endless or you’re trying to make everyone else’s Christmas wish-list a priority, take some time out to decide what it is that you want. How do you want your Christmas so feel like?
Many years ago, I came to the realisation that my Christmas priority list didn’t include the full blown cooked lunch. That it didn’t include sitting down to eat at a certain time of the day, with folded napkins and magazine perfect table settings. After a particularly stressful Christmas lunch, where I found myself laying on my bed in tears, wishing everyone would just fuck off and go home, I realised that I didn’t have to do the annual family Christmas Day rivalry, I didn’t have to organise and cook food that we wouldn’t normally enjoy….I didn’t HAVE to do anything.
The following year, hubby kids and I all decided on what WE wanted for Christmas. That turned out to be lots of bits and pieces like sushi and ribs. We found ourselves munching through the day instead of stuffing our faces at 2pm because that’s what time lunch was scheduled for. We actually decided that year, to not “do” anything throughout the day, and the whole family stayed in their pjs until around 3pm.
It was the best Christmas ever. We saw the extended family that night; we did the cracker pulling and silly hats. But we were so much more relaxed, and enjoyed our evening that much more, because we’d spent the day prioritising our wants and needs.
I know it can be hard to set boundaries with extended family. Grandparents want to see their grandkids; traditions feel like they must be upheld; running around seems like it’s just what Christmas is about. But if the stress of it takes you away from where YOU want to be; from how YOU want to feel….then it’s just not worth it.
So, sit down and decide how it is you want YOUR Christmas to be and then compare it to the reality of the day. If there’s a huge divide between the two, then you have some work to do. Where is there space to, compromise; maybe Christmas dinner instead of lunch will allow you more time at home with your immediate loved ones? Is incorporating a Christmas Eve or Boxing Day outing going to circumvent you having to spend half on your Christmas day in the car travelling to see all of the different relatives? Can you suggest a break from tradition and do Christmas at the beach or a park to save you spending a week making sure the house is clean? Or maybe you can put your foot down and say no to the roast turkey or ham and say that salads and a barbeque are what’s on the menu this December 25th?
YOU are allowed to have a great Christmas too. Don’t prioritize everyone else for the sake of peace or tradition. Decide what it is that you want, and what you don’t want and GO FOR IT.
Heading to the shops this December? No sitter and you have to cart the kids?
Have it all written out; everything you have to get and every shop you have to go to. Make a list and check it twice. Think of the layouts of the shops and create a mud map of what order to do everything in. If you’re taking kids, make sure you’ve got a busy bag on hand. Snacks, drinks and treats to make their shopping experience more tolerable.
Remember to stop and breathe regularly and surrender. It’s going to be busy, noisy, crowded, chaotic, and potentially stressful. You can fight that or you can surrender to it. Try to not have a time limit on your experience.
If the kids need to stop for rest or snack, just go with it. If you feel that a sneaky chai and caramel slice will help sweeten your day, the go for it. Take advantage of late night shopping, early morning starts and…
If you’re time poor, hate crowds or just flat out can’t be bothered, take advantage of online shopping. Order your fruit and veggies direct from a local supplier like The Organic Butler, ring ahead and order your meat over the phone so all you have to do is run in and pick it up from the butcher. Purchase gift vouchers or experiences online and have them sent out via email.
Find local small businesses that you can help support this Christmas. This way, you’re helping a family provide for their kids. You’re helping your community by keeping it’s small business industry strong. You’re helping the environment by not contributing to the food miles most of our food has traveled, and you’re saving yourself time, energy and bucket loads of stress when you come home from work and most of your Christmas shopping is on your doorstep waiting for you.
ASK FOR HELP…
You don’t have to do it alone. Don’t get caught up in the ego trip of perfection and DON’T play the martyr. If you working, snowed under or feeling overwhelmed, take $60 and organise a cleaner like The Clean Life to come and spruce the house up before the relies come over. Who cares if you grab roast chooks from the supermarket instead of cooking them yourself. And who gives a damn if you use paper plates and napkins so you get to sit down and relax with a cheeky glass of bubbles on Christmas arvo instead of being stuck washing dishes.
Maybe outsource some of the cooking to the relatives coming, or make a night of it with your partner or a friend and crack a bottle of wine, put on some tunes and wrap your presents together.
Asking for help or looking for ways to make the holiday period easier doesn’t make you weak….it makes you smart.
Your kids won’t remember that the table setting was perfect, or that the present wrapping matched the decorations on the tree. What they will remember is snuggling down to read a Christmas story before bed, baking Christmas cookies with you, or how every time mum stands under the mistletoe, dad rushes over to kiss her.
This is the time of year for making memories and YOU get to decide whether those memories are made of “sugar and spice, and all things nice“.
There is ALWAYS time and space for giving. And when you open your heart, there are always opportunities. Bake cookies with your kids and hand them out in your local shopping area. Make Merry Christmas signs and put them under the wipers of cars in your local supermarket car park. Pay for someone’s fuel, or groceries at the supermarket if you have the means. Be patient; let someone who looks stressed and rushed go ahead of you in the queue.
Bring cheer to those around you and share the true Christmas spirit. And at the very least,