It’s the festive season – Happy Christmas to everyone. We are in the biggest holiday season of the year (well, for those of us in countries that celebrate Christmas anyway). For many of us, this is also a time of reflection to see how our year has been, what we can do better and how we can make next year even better. A lot of us also go on vacations which is great but sometimes we need a vacation after the vacation. So, the aim with this article is to give simple suggestions to stay relaxed and enjoy the holidays. At the same time, you will learn some strategies which can reduce your stress levels.
Stress is one of the leading causes of depression and considering the pace of our modern lives we should pause and reflect and evaluate our lives on a regular (if not constant) basis. The festive season can make life feel like it is going at some pace! As Mahatma Gandhi said:
“There is more to life than increasing its speed.”
Here are some simple strategies to be relaxed, stay happy and enjoy this festive season to the max.
Control your thoughts:
Even though it may not feel like it, you absolutely have the power to choose to think about how cosy you are, how much you appreciate the good things in your life, how much you’re looking forward to seeing a particular Christmas film, how much you love a specific Christmas song, how relaxing that bubble bath is, how exhilarated you will feel after your walk, how much you love your pet, how wonderful it is to have electricity and a computer, how many uplifting and funny YouTube videos are available for you to watch (the festive season should involve lots of laughter, right?)… and so on.
It may feel difficult at first because you’re feeling the effects of the stress chemicals in your body that make you feel sad, or lonely, or frustrated, or anxious, or upset, or hurt, or other damaging emotions; but if you decide you want to feel better, you absolutely have the power to do so. Change your focus, and your body and brain will follow and will produce the endorphins and other “feel good” chemicals that will change the way you feel. You are in control.
Your festive season does not have to measure up to other people’s experiences or fantastical ideals, so be realistic and recognise your thought processes.
Kindness, compassion, and gratitude are the lessons of this festive season. Giving back during this time of the year can be especially rewarding and really make someone’s day a little brighter. A 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that gratitude not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in psychological well-being. Show some gratitude to loved ones, especially at Christmas. As David Steindl-Rast said:
“It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”
Choose to do more of what feels good, and use your ability to fill everyone around you with compassion. It is one of the most effective antidotes to all negativity. Treating someone with genuine compassion is the most effective way to take the wind out the sails of a negative, miserable, manipulative or aggressive person. Practice to fill yourself with compassion, and then aim it at everyone around you. If you lose the feeling, just see it as falling off the bicycle, and get right back on as soon as you can – tune back in as soon as you can and practice again. You’ll find you get stronger and it gets easier as you keep practicing… and then watch the magic happen around you!
Here are some great articles to help you with this theme during the festive season:
a) Using Self-Hypnosis To Enjoy the Scientific Benefits of Loving Kindness.
b) Why is self-compassion important? And how to advance it with self-hypnosis.
c) Use Self-Hypnosis To Advance Your Empathy.
Take time for yourself:
It’s hard to think about taking time off during the festive season, especially if it’s your busy season at work or you have family commitments and so on. If you can’t spare a few days, try to take a few hours. If that’s not possible, use the time you do have at home (no matter how minimal) to carve out moments to regroup. Do something you find pleasurable during that time and practice enjoying it. Take a few deep breaths and concentrate on them. Enjoy the Christmas lights. Take a walk. Whatever activity you choose, be there.
Embrace family rituals:
Family rituals are emotionally meaningful and convey the message, “This is who we are; this is what it means to be part of this family”. Festive season Rituals — such as dedicating a day to prepare your family’s favourite meal — foster a sense of belonging and identity.
I mentioned fantastical ideals earlier, and that is relevant again here. Sometimes we think when we are on holiday, everything will be fabulous and happy. However, if you are entering the festive season following a stressful time you cannot always just magically flip a switch and transform who and how you are at that time. Put a plan together to unwind properly. Start with lower expectations and build towards meaningful experiences rather than aiming for idealised fantastical times.
You can still have high aims and plans for how you like things to be, but every now and then ground your expectations in some reality to prevent idealised notions of the festive season causing inflated disappointment later on.
We are often stressed around the festive season. For holidays in general, it is best to keep stress to a minimum. Ask family and friends to help you keep the festive season celebration simple and low-key on occasions if need be. Or have strategies in place for you to be able to regroup and relax every now and then as mentioned previously.
Also, seek out opportunities every now and then to spend some time by yourself, with your own thoughts and engage in some self-hypnosis, or mindfulness, or get comfortable doing absolutely nothing.
Reflect and evaluate regularly:
If you feel stress is building or coming on, take a time out and reassess the situation. You need to regularly reevaluate and assess your pace of life on a constant basis to ensure you stay grounded. Reflect objectively if possible about what is happening and what else can be done. Do your best not to reflect when being emotive or emotionally charged as it may cause you to catastrophise!
Help with that here.
Focus on others:
It involves taking the focus away from you and show interest in other people’s problems. When you start focusing on the problems of others you can become more relaxed.
There will always be a crisis in your life and it is the ability to bounce back that determines the key to your overall well-being. You can’t enjoy your holiday breaks to the fullest if you are angry. You need to be objective of any situation you are in. Taking control of your emotions is one of the keys to staying relaxed.
Communicate to deepen relationships:
The best gifts we give during the festive season are often just our time and attention. Learn more about how to strengthen your communication with others. Take a walk with your partner. Let your partner know you enjoy her /his company. Develop common interests. Find a way to have fun together.
All the strategies above are meant to reduce our overall stress and stay relaxed during this festive season. Ultimately whatever you can do to increase your happiness and reduce your stress levels is well worth the effort.
Have some of these themes here resonated with you? Then have a read of these pages:
1. Do you need help or support to stop comparing yourself or in another particular area of your life?
Coaching with Adam Eason Or Hypnotherapy with Adam Eason
2. Would you like a satisfying and meaningful career as a hypnotherapist helping others? Are you a hypnotherapist looking for stimulating and career enhancing continued professional development and advanced studies?
Adam Eason’s Anglo European training college.
3. Are you a hypnotherapist who is looking to fulfil your ambitions or advance your career?
Hypnotherapist Mentoring with Adam Eason.
Likewise, if you’d like to learn more about self-hypnosis, understand the evidence based principles of it from a scientific perspective and learn how to apply it to many areas of your life while having fun and in a safe environment and have the opportunity to test everything you learn, then come and join me for my one day seminar which does all that and more, have a read here: The Science of Self-Hypnosis Seminar. Alternatively, go grab a copy of my Science of self-hypnosis book, it’ll help you enjoy the festive season.