Christmas can be a challenging time for many of us due to additional demands, planning events with family members, or an increased sense of loneliness. Sometimes the season feels yourself far removed from our own individual values, and we wonder why we are doing the things we do. Sometimes it is easy to forget that we can make choices about how we celebrate Christmas, and it becomes an event loaded with obligation. When was the last time you thought about what Christmas means to you? Do you find yourself prioritising important over enjoyable activities? Paying attention to which activities align with our own values is a great way for us to increase have a relaxing bath meaning, enjoyment and satisfaction throughout the season, as well as giving us a way to decide which activities to let go.
We can feel helpless when there is conflict at Christmas, however there are some things we can do to cope-ahead:
- Make sure there are breaks between events to rest and recover
- Avoid over-indulging in alcohol
- Plan healthy distractions ahead of time (backyard cricket, board/card games, an afternoon walk)
Connect with others
Volunteering is a great way to increase satisfaction by helping others who are going through a tough time. You could help serve meals at an outreach, take gifts to a children’s hospital, or visit the elderly in nursing homes. You could attend a church service or a Council Christmas party. Other ways to connect might include donating to the Salvo’s or Wayside Chapel, cleaning out your cupboard to donate to an op shop, or starting a conversation with someone new.
Celebrate achievements and set some goals
You may like to take a look at the year and celebrate your achievements, no matter how small they my feel, as you plan for the year ahead, keep your goals achievable and connected with your values. Well-being is all about balance.
Stay present, participate fully
The two guiding principles of mindfulness are an effective way to reduce future-worry and increase engagement with what we are doing. If you are feeling overwhelmed, use some slow breathing or progressive muscle relaxation (guides are easily found when searched on the web), a mindful meditation, or yoga/gentle stretching. These are easy, free, and help us to stay connected to our bodies and create distance from negative thinking.
Sarah Hindle (M Psych (Clinical), B Psych Sci (Hons), Grad Dip Psych) brings her warmth, wisdom and rapport to the individuals and families she sees; the knowledge that a strong and collaborative therapeutic relationship is foundational to the successful outcome of any intervention. Sarah has experience working with adolescents, adults and families facing a range of mental health difficulties including depression, anxiety, attachment and parenting issues, eating disorders and the management of stressful life events and adjusting to change. As a former classical musician, Sarah also has a particular interest in the treatment of musical performance-related anxiety, a topic on which she has delivered individual therapy and psycho-educational seminars. Sarah also has a particular interest in working with children/adolescents and families facing challenges related to learning difficulties and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).