Decide on one special thing at Christmas to reduce stress and create lasting memories.
Last night at 11.40pm I was writing a to do list, when I woke this morning I thought of other things to add to the list. It is the time of the year, school finishing up, deadlines at work, Christmas and all the other day to day things that demand attention. When we are rushing from one thing to another, how can we make Christmas a mindful time? Remembering to be present where we are at any particular time is crucial. What are your anxious signs. For me awareness that there is tension in my stomach and chest and a feeling that my body needs to be elsewhere is the cue to take a moment and focus on my breathing and remind myself to give all my attention to what I am doing right at that moment.
A tip I would like to share that helps me reduce the pressure of this time of year is to ask yourself - What is the one special thing you love about Christmas. Ask your family or other special people you spend Christmas with what there most favourite thing is. Concentrate on these things. It might be Christmas Carols, lights, trimming the tree, cooking the pudding, family gathering, finding the right gift or something else.
These are the traditions you create for yourself and your family and these are what you prioritise. For my children they love Christmas lights so we make sure whatever happens they see lights. Over the previous years I have made creating a Christmas booklet with quizzes and jokes a priority for a fun focus after Christmas lunch. I also enjoy making Christmas cards. This year my priority is on remaining calm at Christmas. So if as long as people are fed and gifts are given if I remain calm and peaceful everything else is a bonus. Wishing you a Christmas full of wonderful, special, moments with your loved ones.
For over 17 years, I have combined research and the experience of working with 1000s of children, adolescents and parents to help them understand and manage big emotions and create calmer homes. Homes where big feelings are understood, needs are met, and relationships strengthened, so that Christmas can be celebrated, not dreaded. If you would like some more support navigating this time of the year you are welcome to book an appointment.
Psychologist and Founder of Positive Young Minds.
(updated 4th November 2023)
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A reminder this blog is for general information and advice only. It is not designed to replace therapy in any way. For some people Christmas is not just stressful, it is also traumatic. The above advice is not meant to address Christmas trauma. If you are experiencing trauma, overwhelming Christmas anxiety, depression, or any other mental health concern please see your GP, or your mental health therapist, or see if you think I may be a good fit for you .
* These articles are provided by Kim Ross, Psychologist for general information and education . They are not designed to be used for therapy.. If you are experiencing stress please contact your GP or mental health professional.
Kim Ross is an Online Psychologist and Founder of Positive Young Minds and Private Practice Sustainability.