The festive season is rolling around in what once again feels like the blink of an eye.
Christmas is supposed to be fun and exciting, but all too often we sabotage our own happiness as we succumb to the same pressures every year.
These, often self-imposed, pressures to “lose 10 kilos before Christmas” or “impress your in-laws” is not only stressful but takes all the fun out of the festivities.
Throw in all the lamenting over goals you didn’t achieve this year and you’re setting yourself up for a pity party you simply don’t deserve.
You’ve worked hard all year and deserve to enjoy the festivities guilt free just as much as everyone else.
Here are three points I want you to arm yourselves with coming into the festive season when you start being too harsh on yourself. Remember them when you start to become overwhelmed and the negative self-talk begins to creep in.
1: Focus on what’s important to you.
All too often we can become so wrapped up in keeping up appearances that we can sometimes forget what really matters.
Have you ever been so preoccupied with trying to please someone else that you make yourself miserable in the process?
Just because it’s Christmas it does not mean you have to put on a different persona in an attempt to impress people or to project a certain idealistic image of yourself.
Christmas is a time for loved ones and these people love you for exactly who you are, so why change?
Life is short. Don’t waste time on things that don’t speak to your heart.
Spend time with the people you love and allocate some free time to do something that nurtures your heart and soul, whether that’s volunteer work or a crafty hobby.
2: Change how you measure success.
While we’re running around trying to make everything perfect for Christmas day, it can be all too easy to fall into patterns of negative self-talk.
With the sheer amount of internal as well as external pressure put on us at this time of year, it’s no wonder the stress triggers the brain into thinking things like “I’m not good enough”, “I never achieved my goal for the year” or “my cooking is terrible”.
This can start an avalanche of negative thoughts that is not only unfair on yourself but may also inhibit your ability to complete tasks as well as you would normally.
This negative thinking tarnishes the things you did achieve this year by focusing on the things you didn’t. This leads us to believe that the year was a waste because you weren’t as successful as you had hoped.
Just because you didn’t achieve what you had planned, it does not mean you weren’t successful this year.
To combat this, its time to change how we measure success.
This will be different for each person. For some of us, success may be the sound of a laughing child or seeing someone going through a rough patch smile for the first time in a while. For others, getting out of bed when they feel like hiding from the world or doing a presentation without panicking may be their version of success.
No matter how small, whatever success looks like to you make sure you celebrate it.
3: Take care of yourself.
In among all the cooking, shopping, cleaning, gift wrapping, end of year functions and visitors, it can be incredibly easy to put your own needs on the back burner.
It’s December: you’ve spent all year putting other peoples needs before your own and its time to show yourself the same love and care that you show others.
It may seem impossible to find some “me time” but believe me when I say this is critical to your well-being and worth juggling things around for.
Even if you can only spare fifteen minutes to enjoy a cup of coffee uninterrupted then at least give yourself those fifteen minutes.
Even small amounts of self-care practiced every day can have a huge impact on your ability to handle life’s unpredictability and demands.
Keeping these three points in mind doesn’t make you selfish. You can’t pour from an empty cup, so fill your own before filling up the cups of others. You’ll have more energy to do more-good if you’ve taken care of your own needs first.
I hope you keep these points in mind when things feel a bit much and I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy new year!