Christmas is traditionally a time when we think of others and reconnect with those we love. But extended time with family, combined with consecutive days of rich food and alcohol at Christmas can be fuel on the fire for dealing with old tensions, irritations and frustrations! So if you are prone to dealing with mixed emotions at Christmas time we offer you a few tips for helping you to “Keep Calm and Be Well” emotionally:
- Listen more – talk less. This one is tough for most people. However the cause of most disagreements or bad feeling is poor communication. Very often we misunderstand the intention of the other person. Usually all it takes is to stop and listen. If you are someone prone to flying off the handle then try talking less and listening more. If you can genuinely listen with your heart you will be amazed the impact on your relationships. Listening takes conscious effort but the rewards are tremendous.
- Take responsibility for your emotions. Blaming yourself or others for your irritations or frustrations is not taking responsibility for them. Neither is hiding them or pretending they are not there as this tends to create mistrust or confusion. The key to taking responsibility is to accept them as your emotions. Sometimes they are there for very good reason (for example your personal freedom is being violated). We suggest if you find time alone, become still and look for what is really causing the emotion within you – many instances of anger or irritation are hiding deeper layers of guilt (for example we may not feel we fit with what others expect of us). Be open with your emotions where possible too – it will give others permission to accept their own emotions and foster an atmosphere of openness and trust.
- Schedule time for yourself. Being around others (and particularly family) can create demands on us which lead to frustration and doing things we don’t really want or like just to keep the peace. Take time for yourself this Christmas too. One of the best ways we recommend for relieving stress is to meditate or do some yoga during “you time”.
- Give your body a rest from too much processed food, alcohol, coffee or chocolate. Although they are short term mood enhancers, these items create stress for your body and can lead to imbalance in blood sugars. This has an impact on your emotions and capacity for dealing with irritation (!) so to keep balanced give yourself time to allow your body to recover. Plan in your schedule days without touching any of these (and ideally cut out meat and dairy for these days too!) to allow your body to rebalance and rejuvenate.
- Watch heart-warming movies. One way to avoid irritability is to avoid watching horror, thrillers or violent movies during Christmas time. There are many traditional family themed movies at Christmas that will help you “Keep Calm and Be Well”. One movie we always recommend at Christmas is called It’s a Wonderful Life. If you haven’t seen it then we suggest you get the DVD and have some tissues ready.
- Get plenty of sleep. Many of us have worked very hard during the year and it can be tempting to stay up late at Christmas time. If this becomes a regular thing during the Christmas period and is combined with early morning rises (particularly with young children!) it doesn’t take long for a time of relaxation and rejuvenation to turn into the opposite. Therefore set some boundaries for yourself (e.g. bed time is no later than midnight) that suit you and that you feel comfortable sticking to.
- Do some exercise. It can be one of the last things on the agenda at Christmas time but the benefits of some exercise cannot be overstated. We suggest as minimum you take time for a walk every day. Movement in the body can help toxins to be eliminated efficiently from the body and often the cause of irritability is caused by an overly toxic environment in the body.
- Try to catch yourself going into a mood. It is easier to side step an emotional state like irritability or frustration before going into it than to try and come out of it whilst you are there. This tip will take a genuine desire for self-improvement. Be patient with yourself but you can side step negative moods before they arise. Try to understand that your focus determines your emotional states and therefore all it takes is a conscious change of focus (e.g. seeing the positive side rather than just the negative). You can also change states through changing your physiology (e.g. standing up straight and alert feels very different to slumping on a couch).
With a bit of conscious effort any of these tips can be used to enhance your wellbeing (at any time of the year, not just Christmas!). However, pick one or two that resonate most with you and we suggest you focus on these first. And if all else fails stop, breathe and be as present so you can relax and rejuvenate this Christmas too. For more information about our workshops and mindset classes, click here. Good luck and as always we love to hear how you get on, just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.