In the past week, Christmas well and truly got underway for me.
Last Wednesday night was our Christmas party here. Hypnotherapists are the best party people in my experience and as usual we were the last people to leave the dancefloor when the DJ had played his final song. Here is photographic evidence. I recall being quite pleased with myself.
We were the last people in the bar in the early hours too. Great fun with wonderful people. Then last Friday, my wife and I were joined by some family for our annual trip to go and watch the utterly brilliant Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra. Jools and the band were joined on stage this year by Katie Tunstall as well as the amazing Ruby Turner. We danced and sang, and what remained of my voice from the previous Wednesday night’s shenanigans, was truly lost. It was spectacular and such fun.
On Saturday, I was up early and driving off up to London to spend the day and night with great friends. We watched Star Wars: The Force Awakens in the afternoon and then ate too much, drank too much and partied the night away. I won’t say anything about the film as I don’t want to give any spoilers. I loved the film, it was awesome. I got to punch a Stormtrooper on the chin afterwards too! (Complete with theatrical grimace on face and Christmas Jumper)
This week, I get to spend lots of time with my children and wife and we have lots planned together before a very busy Christmas schedule right through to the New Year. My children are at the age where they just love everything about Christmas. In turn, it gets me so excited too, and with the week that I have just had, I am really in the festive spirit right now and I’m going to spoil them I know, but look at this kids electric cars list!
For some, that is not a shared sentiment.
If you’re not a big fan of the holidays, don’t worry – you’re not alone. This time of year can spark all kinds of unexpected reactions and behaviours in even the well-adjusted among us.
For some, Christmas is lonely, or anxiety-inducing, stressful, straining, expensive or it’s filled with dread at the potential for overindulgence, and for others, it is all the above. And to top it all off there’s the looming New Year, which can be disturbing for some as it hits us with the pressure of developing good habits right after we’ve fully exercised our bad ones.
According to psychologist Rob Wilde, “Christmas is a time of extra responsibility and a radical shift in daily patterns.” As a parent you may find managing over excited children, late nights, social commitments and buying presents can leave you feeling frazzled well before the big day has even arrived!
Yesterday, I was having a group chat with a number of people that I speak to each month, and we discussed the best advice we could give each other for having a great Christmas season. Instead of psychological strategies and approaches that I would have expected, we ended up sharing practical advice. It made sense to us all to think in practical terms and we all agreed that we needed to hear the kind of things that we usually take for granted. Every single one of the events from my previous weeks had these components inherent within them and upon reflection, this made them all so enjoyable. I wanted to share that stuff and so here are some practical tips on how to manage some of the festive stressors more effectively when they come your way this year.
1. Focus Your Intention:
Ask yourself, what would make Christmas memorable this year for all the right reasons? Prepare a list of at least 3 things that are really important to you and then make sure these three (or more) intentions are represented in what you do. So for example, it may be about eating good food, playing board games and enjoying the company of your family at this time of the year.
Parties and celebrations have lately become a tradition of Christmas. Whatever your true desired outcomes are for the Christmas, choose your social according to those desired outcomes and intentions.
Many find their own family to give them much emotional sustenance. If so, focus on your immediate family and spend quality time with those who are dear to your heart. If you decide to attend parties, family gatherings should be your main focus. Don’t try to attend them all or go to things out of obligation.
When you know your priority, it’s easy to say “NO” to some invitations. Say it nicely, of course. When you are doing things in line with what will truly make you happy, you’ll have more energy and your Christmas time will be filled with joy as a natural by-product.
2. Have a Realistic Budget:
Money is a top source of stress. So, don’t feel beaten and overpowered for trying to keep up, or buying the latest gadgets or toys. Plan how much you want to spend on presents, food for special events and days out and then stick to it! If it’s hard for you to choose which one to get, invest some time on the internet and look for special deals, use up all your loyalty points and have a look around the shops for the crazy deals. Though avoid playing tug-of-war with a 75” television with someone who saw it at the same time as you. You can also get cheaper and simpler toys to enjoy with your kids, like this little toy named spinner who keep you out of your mind and release stress also, read more about Raptor EDC.
Getting into a lot of debt for the holidays is not a good idea, since you’ll have to pay the price, literally, in the New Year and you don’t want to start the New Year that way. However, many people feel that they have to buy their loved ones whatever they asked for but this is connected to the big stress. The longer gift list is, the bigger is stress.
This matter especially concerns kids who often write whole novels to Santa Claus. My kids have been flicking through catalogues and asking for Christmas gifts since back in October! We can explain to them that it is not certain they are going to receive everything they asked for, and adults should be aware of the same.
Consumerism is rife in our world today, yet investing time and care in personalised gifts, or handmade items full of love, or preserves or other treats can save a fortune and be valued just as much.
3. Food – Getting Organised:
Think about the period of time from Christmas to New Year and anticipate your needs, write a list and do your best to stick to it. Stress is far more difficult to deal with when your sleep is impaired by alcohol and sugar stimulants – the highs and lows of energy levels are rife at Christmas time due to what we consume. Try to avoid junk food and stimulants, such as sugary foods, caffeine, excessive chocolate, and alcohol. When the stress starts to build go for a walk and get some fresh air. Research confirms that moderate exercise is an effective way to relieve stress.
If you have children, lessening their intake of sugar is going to ensure they are better behaved too.
I know it’s not to do with food, but getting plenty of sleep during the party season will ensure it is not ruined by fatigue and mood being detrimentally effected as a result. Drink more water. A glass of water here and there will mean you won’t become dehydrated, and it will aid digestion, both are vital to a healthy Christmas. The better you feel, the less stress you are likely to experience.
4. Sharing Fun:
Rather than just leaving each other alone with presents or to take on the burden of the organizing, choose to share your fun with some unity. Play games together, cook together, watch films together that all want to watch, eat together and make the Christmas experience an all-inclusive one when it comes to fun where everyone has been involved together and feels part of it all. The simple and fun activities become lifelong memories when done together and are cherished by those involved.
Don’t try to do everything on your own, ask some company to assist you, which can make it more fun and then you all have more time for other things.
Instead of needing particular psychological tools and techniques, the best advice is often simple and practical when it comes to enjoying the festive season. You want your celebration to be enjoyable and pressure for it to be so can have the opposite effect. Keep things simple, be organised, set limits, plan well, join together with your loved ones and you’ll have a ball.
Learn more about reducing stress:
8 Ways to Reduce Your Stress
Audio hypnosis session:
Washing Away Stress and Worry
Ensure the true spirit of Christmas — humility, sharing, love, joy, laughter all remain the focal point of the Christmas celebration.
This will be the last you’ll hear from me for a short while, but I’ll be back very soon. Thank you for reading this blog for the past year, I wish you and your loved ones a thoroughly enjoyable and love-filled festive season.
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