Many people tell me that they would prefer the label “Stressful” to “Silly” for the current season.
There is an urgency in the air. So much to do, so many people to see, so little time – and often, a great reluctance to do it. Buying presents, often for people whom you see rarely of perhaps don’t particularly care for, can put a big hole in your budget. Preparing for a holiday, when these extra tasks are also to be done, can put a big hole in your time. Having to get everything done can lead to irritability – with your partner, workmates, children – and that means shame, it means extra work to mend relationships, and it can mean extra tension when you just need a break.
This is also party season, which carries with it its own dangers. What can you do to survive?
- Continue your normal exercise routine or replace it with something different. Don’t just assume that dancing at parties will be enough. The best protector of mental health is sensible physical exercise.
- Alcohol is only your friend when used in moderation. When you drink, you increase your reactivity and irritability, and can really muck up important relationships. Ensure you have alcohol-free days, and that when you are drinking, you intersperse alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic, so that you quench your thirst sensibly and only sip on your alcohol.
- Take time for yourself if you can. Perhaps put away your screen in the evening and instead have a relaxing shower, do some yoga or breathing, sit quietly without stimulation. Or go for a gentle walk.
- Keep an eye on your significant relationships and make time for them too. Don’t put them on hold while you spend your time partying or shopping. Do some of it together.
- When spending time with difficult family members (often those you have avoided during the year but have to spend time with at Christmas), keep the topic of conversation simple and non-controversial. If you are mindful of what is going on, you can keep things gently on track and avoid minefields. Being sober will help that process.
- Sleep helps us manage our emotions. Ensure you have enough. Burning the candle at both ends may not lead you to greater happiness.
- Write lists and cross tasks off when they are completed. It will give you a real sense of satisfaction and will also make you more efficient, leaving you more time to enjoy this very silly season.
Have a wonderful festive season and new year!
If you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious at this time of year please get in touch for further support.