Christmas! The time of joy and festivity, peace and goodwill to all men. Of seeing the wonder in children’s eyes, decorating trees, giving and receiving gifts. Christmas and the seasonal festivities can be wonderful – for those with young children excited by the magic of visits from Santa, nativity plays and trips to the ice rink. For others – carol concerts, frosty winter walks and Christmas lights. It can be a time of happy family reunions, appreciation of good food and wine, and time to toast your toes, and indeed marshmallows, in front of the fire and enjoy some time off work.
But for some of us the thought of all that preparation – Christmas shopping, food shopping, making the house ready for guests (who you may only see once a year) and keeping it tidy in spite of excited children running around, can create other feelings – of being overwhelmed by the amount of work involved, as well as the cost, the endless planning lists and wondering how many hours you will be spending in the kitchen, and if the results will live up to expectations.
I’m sure you get the picture…. and have you noticed where that picture is? How big is it? What are the colours like? Close your eyes for a moment and take a look.
If it’s close to your face, right in front of you and in stark colours that you find disagreeable shrink it down to a size you’re more comfortable with, mute or change the colours and move the whole picture away from you until it’s in a position that allows you a sense space.
If there are specific tasks that you can see in the picture, take each task in turn and put it in a different position – may be at arm’s length and off to one side but within reach so you can take hold of it and action it when you’re ready to. When you’ve finished placing each task where you want it notice how the feelings you now have about the time of preparation ahead have changed.
For some of us it’s a voice gabbling away in one ear or the other, listing off a string of things that need to be done…. Slow it down, imagine it’s a radio or TV set and turn the volume down – or off! Now become aware of how your feelings about the tasks ahead have changed.
You may well feel calmer and find that it all feels more manageable. Breathe in and out deeply and enjoy this new feeling.
Of course there are also some common sense tips for reducing the stresses of the festive season:
- Plan ahead, and get ahead of the game. Shop online and write the Christmas cards early so you have more space later.
- Know when to stop. If you have forgotten some minor detail, it really doesn’t matter. Aim to enjoy Christmas Eve with no remaining urgent preparations.
- Resolve to keep calm; take some time out on busy days to go for a 20 minute walk or do some breathing and meditation. Just breathing in for ten seconds, holding for ten, and breathing out for ten a few times relaxes both mind and body.
- Turkey is a good choice for the mind as well as a festive favourite as it contains tryptophan, which boosts our serotonin levels which helps promote feelings of well-being and happiness.
- Pace the alcohol and avoid too much caffeine.
- Have an escape plan – a phone call to make or a neighbour to pop in on – just ten minutes out of the hustle and bustle will clear the mind.
Having put all that into practice if you’re still feeling overwhelmed and anxious by any aspect of the festivities, NLP and hypnotherapy can help, and usually very quickly. For an informal chat, do give me a call on 0117 907 7722 or send an email to email@example.com. I’d be delighted to talk it through and help you to really enjoy this time of festivities and peace on earth.