When I wrote the date today at work, I realized that it is only one month until Christmas! I knew Santa was in town because the Christmas pageant had happened, but this year Christamas seems to have crept up on me! We had a Christmas work gathering at a local hotel on Saturday, and had a very relaxed and happy afternoon, catching up on everyone’s news. It was lovely to meet the partners and children of some new team members too.
Now is a good time to consider what Christmas means to you? Perhaps you have religious or spiritual beliefs, and it is a time to celebrate. Perhaps you love seeing family at Christmas, or enjoying Summer holidays. For many Christmas is a happy time, with the end of the year coming, and some respite from the demands of work and the school year. Take some time to consider what Christmas means to you, and what you enjoy about it.
I loved the excitement of Christmas as a child, and having a child of my own brought new excitement. I have spent Christmas with family and friends, both larger and smaller gatherings, in Australia and overseas. And I have spent Christmas alone. One year when I was in the Air Force as a doctor, I had just moved to Townsville and spent Christmas Day on my own. Not only that, we had a cyclone to deal with! I remember keeping myself occupied by sewing.
Sometimes we take our situation for granted, and forget that many people are very isolated and so Christmas is a difficult time in many ways. Consider, for example, all the advertising and images of happy families. Sometimes Christmas can be very stressful. I often hear about the stresses of Christmas from my clients. They might have a large Christmas gathering to plan for at their house, or maybe getting together with family has a great deal of stress attached. Perhaps the financial pressures of Christmas creates stress.
Are you relaxed about Christmas, or stressed? Here are a few ideas for managing the stresses of Christmas:
- Remember what Christmas means to you – focus on what is important to you.
- Work out your priorities for Christmas. What can you shed?
- Lessen expectations on yourself. Remember that you can say ‘no’ to things too.
- Keep things as simple as possible.
- Don’t compare your celebrations and gifts to what others have.
- With Christmas meals, share the load. Who can do what?
- Connect with others e.g. family, friends, Church, volunteering…
- Breathe, relax, have a holiday.
- Smile and have some fun.
- Enjoy the festive season!