Christmas! It’s Complicated!
Yep, it’s that time of the year when things can really come to a head, with the Christmas/holiday season nearly upon us.
Someone once said to me that free will goes completely out the window at Christmas time. Now, I don’t think that it goes completely out the window but it certainly is a time of compromise.
So with this in mind, here are my top tips for looking after yourself this Christmas.
1. Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
Knowing this can has made the biggest difference to me.
So many of us are wandering around not knowing why we are so exhausted. Could it be that you are an introvert?
Most people are a combination of introvert and extrovert, with a bias one way or the other.
I am definitely more biased towards being an introvert. While I do enjoy seeing and catching up with people, there comes a time when I have reached my limit, I’m full and I need to retreat and recharge.
Once you know this and understand this, then it can explain a lot. It’s nothing personal against the people you know… , it’s just the type of person that you are!
If you are in introvert, you need to build in plenty of time on your own.
It could be a 15-minute walk on your own, locking yourself in the loo or going to your bedroom and closing the door.
Pace yourself and give yourself plenty of alone time to recharge.
2. If you’re a giver, try to have some balance:
Are you the person who always takes up all of the slack? Steps in when someone or something is needed? Always looking after other people needs?
All very noble indeed.
You may be fine with all of this giving for a while but you do run the risk of completely burning yourself out.
Every so often, it is useful to take a step back and ask yourself does this giving still feel good or do I need to tone it down a bit? You’re no use to anyone if you run yourself into the ground.
Maureen Gaffney suggests making a list of all the things to do for other people, what others do for you and what you do for yourself.
When you do this, it may highlight where you are out of balance with your giving.
And if you are someone who is on the receiving end of all this giving, take some time to see if there is some way that you could give back.
3. Take Control: Have A Plan In Place:
Christmas isn’t picture perfect for everyone, despite what it looks like on Facebook/TV etc.
And Christmas can really amplify any feelings of what is missing in our lives.
I remember, when I was of childbearing years, being so sad on Christmas day because we didn’t have children.
So, on Christmas day, I always made sure that I was very busy, surrounded by lots of people and children (that was the day when I needed all of the extroverts!), to help me to get me through the day.
It doesn’t make the loss go away, but it definitely got me over the hump of Christmas day.
So, if Christmas day or the time around Christmas is difficult for you, take control and plan something that is going to make you feel better. Even if you don’t use the plan, you know that you have it there as a back up.
And in doing this, you will be looking after yourself this Christmas and listening to your needs.
4. Be very specific about what you want people to do & say it:
When I ask for something to be put away or tidied up, I probably mean now or at least before I arrive back from doing whatever I had been out doing.
I’m assuming of course that you know exactly what I mean and know exactly what I’m thinking (isn’t it obvious??).
No, it’s not obvious!!
So if you want something done and you have a particular way you’d like it to be done and by a certain time, don’t keep it all to yourself.
Asking someone to clean the kitchen might be a bit vague – I know what I mean, but do they? Be specific.
In return, if someone asks you to do something, maybe ask them exactly what they mean. Could save a lot of heartache.
5. Say yes to yourself:
Chances are that over the holiday season, you will be saying yes to certain things/events, that you don’t necessarily want to do. That’s fine and dandy, but make sure that you are saying yes to yourself as often as you say yes to others.
It’s really important so that you are filling up your own batteries, giving yourself enough time to re-charge, and making sure that you don’t finish the holidays feeling completely depleted and worn out.
Remember that old phrase that sometimes saying no to others is saying yes to yourself.
6. Try To Remember That Everyone is doing their best:
I was talking to someone who has a boss who always can be very unreasonable at times – shouting, quite insulting, and biting their employees heads off (and yes complaints have been made about the person). The company is running employee sessions related to the Enneagram, and during this, she shared to the group that her father had been a terrible bully.
Knowing that piece of information made a huge difference to the people who worked with her. While it doesn’t justify her behaviour, it does explain it.
Let me be very clear, it is not about excusing someone’s behaviour, but in a situation, you could ask when you see someone acting out, if you can, step back and ask yourself, what might have happened to make them like this? You may find that you have a bit more compassion for them.
7. And my favourite top tip…. yes, it’s got to be duvet day!
I love my duvet day. This is a day spent in jammies, probably having chocolate for breakfast (or maybe plum pud), padding around doing my own thing.
With a sneaky fire lit first thing, I might watch ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ on tv at 9 in the morning, spend the day in bed, or read a book.
The important thing is that this is MY day.
Everyone else can go to pot and fend for themselves.
Whatever you decide to do, it’s important that you are looking after yourself this Christmas so you can recharge and get ready for 2019.
Wishing you a peaceful and happy Christmas.
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