Christmas is stressful. This seems to be an accepted fact.
But does it have to be this way?
On one hand, there is no doubt that Christmas has the potential to majorly trigger our stress response patterns, with the endless subtle media pressure to be happy around Christmas, the increased pressure on family dynamics and a desire to make sure we are making the most of what is supposed to be a very special time of year. Yet really we are the ones in control. Although outside pressures can make it more difficult to reduce our stress levels, practical tips can significantly support us in making Christmas Holidays much more enjoyable and even stress-free. The power is within and not in what is happening on the outside.
This sounds great, yet what practical techniques are there to start to cultivate the power within to help us reduce stress around Christmas?
Firstly we need to learn not to take all the expectations around Christmas so seriously, realising a lot of it just causes us not to enjoy it and adds a whole load of stress that simply shouldn’t be there. What expectations do you have around Christmas? Obviously, a lot of it depends on our unique circumstances and sub-conscious conditioning, but generally, we feel the pressure to be happy, to make others happy and to build up to this one monumental day that should be one of the highlights of the year. That is a whole load of pressure to be putting on yourself.
There is another way.
Rather than going along with all the expectation the best thing to do for an enjoyable Christmas Holidays that is stress-free is to try and see the imperfection in perfection. All will be fine. There will be ups and downs, great memorable moments and boring forgettable moments, agreements and disagreements, yet at a deeper level, all will be fine. The expectation creates the judgment and most of them are wholly unnecessary.
To help with this a practical suggestion. Every night just before you go to bed during the Christmas period write down on your phone three repeating judgments that came up about your expectations relating to Christmas. Then ask for help. From your higher self/the light/God/a religious figure/the Universe or whatever you believe in, ask for help to release all these expectations and to help you have an enjoyable stress-free Christmas. Remember this is what you really want and the expectations truly don’t matter that much.
Secondly, put your focus on high levels of self-care around Christmas. This is very difficult for beautifully giving people whose pattern becomes even more heightened with all the opportunities to give at Christmas, yet truly is in the highest good for all if understood correctly and implemented with love. True self-care is the most giving thing you can do. Make sure to do your best to exercise your body, enjoy all the delights of food and drink at Christmas whilst maintaining a healthy balance, walk out in nature if you can and most of all just take some time for yourself doing the things you love rather than constantly doing unnecessary things for others to fill the self-love hole. Self-care is essential around Christmas for you to truly take care of those you love.
Finally, you already have the best self-care practice in the world to reduce stress around Christmas. Meditation of course!! Now the temptation is to use all the time pressures of Christmas as an excuse not to do your meditation at all or to do it significantly less. Your mindset should be the exact opposite. When the pressure is higher on your time and the potential to be triggered into stress much greater, then more meditation should be at the top of your list of priorities. The benefit will be huge. It will make you much more efficient in completing your Christmas jobs (actually saving you time), help you relax into not taking everything so seriously and give you a much-needed quiet spot to spend some time alone. You deserve it.
Christmas is now going to be incredibly enjoyable and stress-free for you this year. By not taking it so seriously to the extent that you can see the perfection in the imperfection, implementing high levels of self-care, and doing more meditation than normal you have all the practical tools at your disposal to change your experience on Christmas. It will feel great. And as you feel better about Christmas, others whom you share it with will also feel much better and you will be able to nourish them with the love they truly deserve.