"We must remember that sometimes it is more important to be kind, than to be right"
- Learning to let go of your perfectionism -
Christmas can be a challenging time for our stress levels and it’s even harder for those suffering with a decline in their emotional wellbeing. The festive period can instigate many personal triggers for people so it’s important we approach others with kindness and compassion.
There can be great pressure on having the ‘perfect’ day at Christmas and ensuring that all plans and deadlines are met, but really, memories are made of moments and it’s far more important to have a pleasant and positive vibe throughout the day than one that is full of strict and stressful guidelines.
This year, try to take a more relaxed ‘go with the flow’ approach to Christmas Day and embrace change, should it happen. Put plans in place but make room for flexibility to create a free and flowing atmosphere. Negative energy can heavily impact those who are already struggling with their emotional wellbeing and in the scheme of things it probably doesn’t matter.
A happy teenager, who joins the crowd an hour late out of bed, is better than one feeling pressured, resentful and ultimately like even more of an outcast for the rest of the day.
If someone wants to help with the cooking, embrace the help and enjoy it. This could well be someone’s way of reaching out for connection, and that’s what Christmas is about. Let go of that perfectionism, and learn to laugh, as these moments and memories are far more important that perfectly cut carrots!!
When it comes down to it, people care more about the behaviour and treatment they receive than the gifts they get under the tree. Take a step back to look at the bigger picture this year and be mindful of the small moments that make the biggest memories.
- If you constantly focus on what you don’t have, you will never fully appreciate what you do have. - Sharron Scott (yours truly) -
Christmas can be particularly difficult for those who have suffered loss, heart-break, have dysfunctional families or no family at all. It is deemed to be a time of deep love and connection however for some it simply emphasises the lack of this for them.
To help put these feelings at ease we must:
1) Focus on what you do have instead of what you don’t.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the struggles for our wants in life, but being grateful for what we do have can take the pressure off what we don’t.
As Christmas is traditionally a time to be with our loved ones, those who have suffered from loss can find it difficult not to feel consumed by their absence. Try and keep in mind the people you still have in your life and those who have supported you throughout your tough times. Reflect on these and cherish who you have to remind yourself of how much you still have to be grateful for.
2) Don't get caught up with how the media portrays Christmas.
Christmas is different for everybody and it can hold a unique meaning for each individual. It is important that you understand what Christmas means to you personally, regardless of how we perceieve it through ‘happy family adverts’ and the extravagancies of Facebook and Instagram.
Think about what your personal intention is this year...
Take a moment to ask yourself what Christmas really means to you and without searching for a specific answer, simply observe what feelings, thoughts, memories and images you connjure up. Gain a deep understanding of your intention and focus on achieveing this throughout the festive season.
Make it unique. Make it personal. Make it meaningful, for you.
3) Listen with the intent to truly understand.
‘Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.’ - Stephen R. Covey
The best gift you can give to someone is your time. If you know someone is struggling this year, simply sitting down (whether it’s over a brew or a beer!) and giving them even just 15 minutes of your undivided attention can make a real difference.
It’s rare to find someone who doesn’t just hear the words you are saying, but truly listens to them, processes them, and gives you real feedback, and since Christmas is about connection, it may just be what a friend needs this year.