Christmas pressure has a way of finding us, free yourself and find festive contentment.

Because life is short, follow the Happy Path for more tips and inspiration to live your happiest live.


I love the holiday season it is my favourite time of the year. Christmas has always been top of my list for celebrations, the family, friends, food and frankly a sprinkle of magic you can not find at any other time.

However for many of us it can also be really stressful, worrying and even upsetting. Some of us will be struggling financial, some of us might be alone, some of us struggle to get time off work. Here are some tips to be kind to yourself this festive season.

The perfect gift

I know this pressure too well. Some members of my family (love them to pieces) actively tell you how rubbish your gifts are, that they don’t want anything because it will end up being thrown away or given away. Still I struggle with the thought of not getting anything so perhaps inevitably I find myself under mounting pressure to find the one gift that will be just right.

Having attempted this for many years I have finally learnt that the giving is as much for me as for them receiving. For me it is an acknowledgment that I care about them, that I think about them even when they are not around. With this knowledge I can not fail in purchasing, because as long as I apply a little thought I have met my true goal. To tell you I love you in this little way.

I know lots of people have different approaches to gifting, some don’t buy any, some get a mountain. What ever you do if it makes you happy go with, if you find yourself feeling a little a lost with your approach maybe ask yourself why do I do it this way. Understanding the purpose behind our approach can help to challenge or solidify it.

Social Events

This one can be huge for many of us suffering with anxiety or mental health challenges.

Ten years ago now I was out on a Christmas works do, we had just finished the meal and were at the first club of many, enjoying the first drink of many when I got that dreaded phone call. ‘Your mum has taken a turn for the worst and won’t make it through the night.’ It took everything I had to hold it together, walk back into the room, make a vague excuse and leave. Suffice to say Christmas parties did not have the same shine for a while after that.

This year many of us have an extra reason to be anxious. Covid continues to invade our lives, and the uncertainty and worry it brings haunts each day.

When it comes to any social situation over the holidays I suggest you try and find balance. It is important to care for yourself and you should feel under no obligation to attend any event if it will make you unwell. However remember that it can also make you unwell to avoid all socialising. We are humans after all and for better or worse some interaction with the heard is part and parcel of the gig. Personally I have chosen to keep those interactions with my nearest and dearest then pull back a little on the bigger broader events. There is still an element of discomfort or anxiety but it feels like the right balance.

Activities

With the Christmas season there often comes a pressure to do it all. Bake the home made Christmas cake, cook for the three hundred from scratch, design the perfect Christmas card, take the kids to see Santa, go skating and… It can be never ending.

I think one thing that works well here is too select your key traditions. Traditions have power and value beyond the simple task. They grow with us and every time we do them we add a little more to the pile of happiness.

It can work well when we pick a few traditions that we always do and try to stick with those. Of course you can sprinkle in extra activities but they become optional and the power of those traditions is invested in and protected. Some of our traditions include a family advent calendar and carols with our friends.

Just being Happy

The last one is a big one there is a massive pressure on us at times to simply be happy and when it does not come naturally we can beat ourselves up, grow even more frustrated and pile on mountains of negative emotions.

Don’t try to force your happiness as that is the least likely way to achieve it. Be aware of your feelings, but not tied to them so tightly that they dictate your every move. Carve out time to rest and relax, do something you enjoy, spend some valuable time on you. Be ok with not being ok but don’t settle with it.

I do hope this Christmas finds you healthy and well, I am off to do the first of two 6am shops. Save me!

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