It’s Christmas time, a time of kindness and giving. Sending cards, giving gifts, spending time with people you don’t normally, setting another seat at the table. It’s a time where adverts on TV remind us that pets are not gifts, that they shouldn’t be given only to be discarded after a few days. Wouldn’t it be a beautiful world if we all remembered this too when it comes to each other? Sadly (ask George Michael) we can’t guarantee that kindness and love that appears over the festive period is here for good, but we can remember to practice love and kindness towards ourselves. I know this is usually a New Year’s thing but forget that. You don’t need a change of calendar to make you take care of yourself, you are worth more than that.
Taking care of yourself (at any time of year) can take many forms and those of you who come and see or talk with me already will be familiar with some of these, and if you don’t or aren’t please feel free to take some of this on board and try and put these into practice in your own lives. So, some festive selfcare you can take into the New Year…
· Avoid excessive alcohol – I know, I know it’s Christmas… but if we know that alcohol does not help with anxiety, which is heightened around this time of year. If you are feeling anxious alcohol is unlikely to be a solution. Not in the long term.
· Burning the candle at both ends is a great way to burn yourself out – If you feel that you are doing too much or are overwhelmed by things it’s ok to take a break. Pressure at this time of year to “have fun” can have the exact opposite effect.
· Decide your limits in advance – I’m a great one for getting my “home head on”. When it’s time to go, it’s time to go.
· Set boundaries – Cushion yourself. Knowing where your boundaries are will help you protect your own well-being and helps to feel in control of a situation
o Say “no” where you can (see above)
o If you have to go somewhere that you do not feel comfortable, decide a time that you will leave and stick to this. If a situation doesn’t feel good to you, it probably isn’t. Trust yourself and know that it is ok for you to take yourself away.
o Avoid conversations that you know will be problematic for you or ensure you have some “go-to” phrases lined up in advance. The majority of times that people say things that are hurtful or triggering for us, is unintended. Questions about our relationships, or career, or our appearance can be asked at this time of year when we are reunited with those we don’t see at any other time. Cushion yourself as much as you can, with either prepared responses or knowing who to and who not to talk to. And as above, if you need to remove yourself…do it.
· Talk – Share your feelings, worries and concerns. When you feel overwhelmed, reach out to others. You are not alone. I promise you.