If you’ve been a reader of my blog for any length of time, you may know I share a series of articles at this time of year, written especially to help you navigate and survive Christmas with your sanity intact!
I always receive such great feedback on this series that it has now become an annual staple for my readers. If you’re new here, I hope you enjoy these articles and find them equally as helpful!
And if you’d like the rest of the series direct to your Inbox, enter your details in the box below (and receive the 5 Steps Mini Guide.)
So, without further ado…
“It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!”
So says the song.
And the lead up to it…
That time of year when things start to get madly busy and crazy-making, especially for us ladies. In addition to our usual myriad of responsibilities we get the added bonus job title:
Chief Christmas Planning Officer.
There’s the Christmas shopping to organise.
Figuring out what to buy for whom.
The Christmas day lunch menu to sort.
The extended family get together on Boxing Day.
School activities and concerts.
Parties and celebrations.
And the list goes on. And on. And on..!
All this in addition to keeping ‘normal life’ on track – whether that’s running our businesses or staying on top of career responsibilities. And of course keeping up with the kids, the home, the parents, friends, etc.
It’s no wonder that when the day itself actually arrives, we often feel exhausted and burned out, not to mention resentful.
Our shoulders physically ache from the added burden we’ve been lugging around like an over-sized Santa sack for weeks!
The festive season is when we get to spend extended quality time with our families and loved ones.
In reality it can be a time spent in close quarters with people who’s company we may not particularly enjoy; acting as peacemaker in the face of family conflict, squabbling siblings, etc.
It’s no coincidence, and no surprise then, that the beginning of January is the busiest time of year for divorce lawyers.
The good news is, there is much you can do to feel in control and have the kind of Christmas you want – regardless of how anyone else is behaving!
Here are my Top Five Tips to help keep you sane over Christmas – and come the New Year!
(1) Don’t make your Christmas happiness dependent on other people’s behaviour
Remember this one truth:
You can’t change other people’s behaviour. And it’s not your job to try.
So stop stressing yourself out because your husband or your mother-in-law may not behave according to the ‘Rule Book’ you’ve created for them.
Wanting anyone to be different than they are is just arguing with reality – and reality always wins!
Give them permission, even if it’s just for one day, to be who they are. Consciously decide that you are going to accept them exactly as is – no modifications required. Notice how this makes you feel.
(2) Have some ‘Go To’ thoughts up your sleeve
Once you’ve committed to Tip 1, it’s essential to have some ‘Go To’ thoughts at the ready for when your loved ones start to exhibit the kind of behaviours guaranteed to drive you bananas!
Without immediate access to some new thoughts, your mind will automatically revert to default thinking patterns. These in turn will lead to default behaviour patterns that may not give you the results you want!
‘Go To’ thoughts for your husband or your mother-in-law or your eccentric aunt might include:
- That’s just <name> being <name>
- Isn’t it interesting that he/she behaves that way, I wonder what’s driving that?
- This behaviour isn’t about me, it’s about them. What am I making it mean about me and why?
- I can choose how I want to feel about this – I got the power!
- I am choosing to feel calm and peaceful
- It’s not their behaviour that’s pissing me off, it’s MY THOUGHTS about their behaviour. What do I want to think instead that feels better (and is just as true?)
(3) Don’t play the Martyr role
One of the reasons we end up feeling resentful at this time of year is because we have taken on the role of making sure everyone in our family has a wonderful Christmas. We may pull it off, if we don’t keel over from exhaustion first! And then we feel resentment when they don’t show appreciation for our gargantuan efforts.
Here’s a secret: When we do stuff for other people, it’s not really for them, it’s for us! Huh?
The only reason we do anything is because of how we think is going to make us feel. The reason you do things for your husband, your kids or anyone else is so that you can feel _______ (happy/contented/ nurturing/like a good hostess/a good mum, just insert your own reason).
When you understand this you don’t need other people to be grateful for your efforts. You know you are choosing to do something for somebody else because it makes you feel good.
If you don’t feel good about doing something, don’t do it!
And if you feeling good is dependent on other people being grateful – again, don’t do it – because other people’s gratitude is out of your control!
(4) Ask for what you need
Related to Tip 3 above, us women have a habit of taking on too much and then complaining that we don’t get any help or support.
Ladies – it’s time to lay down our Wonderwoman Capes!
Ask for help when you need it. Make requests. Explain what you need help with and why it’s important to you. When we do this in a calm and rational way, we are much more likely to get a positive response.
When we scream at our partner: “Well you can do the bloody shopping and cook the turkey, I’ve had it!” he may not be so keen to roll up his sleeves!
Know your limits. Know what you are prepared to do and what you aren’t prepared to do. Make a conscious choice that you are going to enjoy Christmas with your sanity and your stress levels intact.
Purposefully decide how you want to feel this Christmas and align your thinking accordingly.
If the help you request isn’t forthcoming, you have two choices: You can do it yourself because it is going to make YOU feel good. Or you can choose not to do it.
Either way, don’t hang your Christmas happiness on other people’s behaviour or co-operation.
(5) Be Present
If you have followed Steps 1-4, number 5 will be much easier to achieve.
Be fully present and enjoy making those special Christmas memories with your family.
Over to You!
I would love to know the ‘Go To’ thoughts that will help you survive this Christmas season with your sanity intact! Please share them and any other tips you have for enjoying the festivities, below.
Note: This blog post is one in a series of five about How to Survive Christmas with your Sanity Intact!
Check back next week for Part 2.
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