Christmas is drawing near and for a lot of people it means spending time with family or loved ones, indulging in lots of rich and decadent food, drinking alcohol and general merriment and enjoyment. However Christmas can also be a time of reflection and can often highlight what we have or haven’t got in our lives. This can bring up difficult feelings for many and Christmas ends up being a struggle to get through rather than something to enjoy. The media often triggers feelings of inadequacy as we’re constantly bombarded with happy family scenes when actually it’s the time of year when arguments are more likely to happen in the home, purely because of the amount of pressure we’re all under to have a good time! It’s also a time when debt is accrued by many in the desperate attempts to fulfil their loved ones Christmas wish list, only to be followed by a major financial hangover in the new year when debts need repaying.
There are ways that you can get through this testing time. Try not to buy into the media hype and see it as a time for you to give to yourself – notice what you are saying to yourself; is it kind and thoughtful or critical and negative? A good way to get negative thoughts under control is to start a journal where you start by noticing when you’re feeling bad and identify exactly what those feelings are, for example anxious about spending time with relatives over Christmas or sad that you are going to be alone over this time. Next notice what you are thinking and identify thoughts that are probably making you feel worse eg. “This is going to be a crap Christmas, I’m single again, everyone else is with someone, I’m unloveable” – not only is this going to make you feel worse about yourself, it isn’t true! So the next step is to challenge this thought eg. I’m not the only single person in the world, I have friends and family who do love me and there are benefits to being single – I can do what I want, when I want and it could be the perfect time to meet someone with all the Christmas and New Year parties going on!” Then notice what happens with your feelings – the chances are that you’ll feel a lot less sad or anxious and you may even feel positive about yourself, which can help you find creative solutions to your problem.
Nurture yourself with loving and positive thoughts and take the extra time you have off over the holiday season to reflect on the past year and to think about where you want to be this time next year. What do you want to achieve and what do you need to do in order to attain this? Set yourself goals and break them down into small manageable steps using the SMART method as follows:
Specific – write down exactly what you want to achieve
Measurable – ensure that you are able to measure your progress along the way
Attainable – when you set your goals ensure that they are achievable and you are able to take the steps needed to reach them
Realistic – make sure that your goals are do-able and realistic for you
Timed – set a time frame for your goals. Putting an end point on your goal gives you a clear target to work towards.
When it comes to presents, buy gifts that are thoughtful rather than extravagant or expensive, you could even try making something which not only help you to get in touch with your creative side but can also be very therapeutic and you will be giving something unique to your loved ones.
If, however you find that Christmas is just too much, you find that you are struggling with your feelings for yet another year and none of the above is working for you, maybe it’s time for you to invest in yourself and your emotional well being by giving counselling a try. Counselling can be useful in helping you to understand your difficult feelings, help you to work through them and learn how to manage them instead of them managing you. It can be a way of setting and attaining your goals for the future and ensuring that from now on Christmas is on your terms and no one else’s.
Alternatively if you are struggling with achieving your goals and would like help in this area, invest in a course of life coaching sessions. Life coaching works really well in getting you to identify what you want to achieve and when. By having a course of 6 sessions you are encouraged to be focussed and will get to understand what is blocking you from attaining your goals so that you can clear them, along with any limiting beliefs.
If you would like to book an appointment or call to discuss how counselling or life coaching can help you please contact me on 07841 420067 or alternatively email me at email@example.com