12 Tips for a Relaxing Christmas is designed to look after your mental health and focus on what is important to you.
Christmas is the festive time of year for peace, joy, and love. But it is also a time when some struggle with their mental health: Relationship issues, loneliness, financial difficulties, social anxiety, the loss of loved ones, domestic abuse, work, and time demands; The list goes on….
Could this be you?
Whilst us humans are trying to cope with the added pressures of Christmas, the head elf at the north pole (let’s say their name is Winky) has got their work cut out. With all the responsibility of ensuring toy production runs smoothly, as well as the added pressure of not wanting to let Santa down, Winky is feeling the weight firmly placed on his shoulders!
By Christmas Eve he is run down, and his batteries are low, as he spends the whole of Christmas day tired and grumpy, and his body starts telling him to slow down.
Could this be you?
Rudolph is also checking absolutely everything to ensure a safe trip around the globe. He has the sleigh being inspected in the garage. He is worried the runners will not make a smooth enough landing! All the reindeers are stretching and keeping nimble, but he worries comet might get cramps. He notes the best routes through each continent on the navigation system, with plan B and C at the ready just in case of poor weather conditions. To be even more cautious, he even has an extra bottle of Christmas spirit saved from last year as he worries it might run out.
Rudolph is hyper alert and can’t seem to find peace in his own mind, always thinking about what might go wrong.
Could this be you?
Over at Christmas village Mrs Claus is feeling particularly down in the dumps. Being a sensitive soul, she cares deeply about others and wants the world to be a happy place. Since her and Santa got the new flat screen TV, she has been watching the news from around the world which has had such a negative impact on her. She is feeling everyone’s pain and can’t seem to find resolve.
Although she lives within the jolliest place in the world, loneliness has set in and she questions her own sadness.
Could this be you?
These are just some of the scenarios that can affect us at any time of the year, however quite often we place extra pressure on ourselves for Christmas to be ‘perfect’. It is very common to polish and perfect Christmas by fine tuning everything, making it just right. But what is perfect?
Our brains are designed to keep us alive and not necessarily make us happy. During solution focused hypnotherapy sessions this a something we learn about and come back to time and time again. But by making just a few simple changes to our thinking and behaviours, it is easy to reengage the feel-good factor and bring back Christmas spirit.
As a gift for you, here are 12 tips for a relaxing Christmas to ensure you enjoy connection stay and ‘present’ this Christmas.
12 tips for a relaxing Christmas
- Write down what’s been good – This is a daily practice I recommend for every single day of the year. Whether you’re waking up to sparkling frost in Lincolnshire or rising to a new sunny day in the Bahamas write what’s been good. By making a list of ‘what’s been good’? you start to change how your brain is operating. What’s happening is that by looking for the good things rather than going over all the bad things, you begin to form new neural pathways which are more positive and rewarding. As the saying goes ‘it’s not joy that makes us grateful, but gratitude that makes us joyful’.
- Bedtime affirmations – Affirmations are great at bedtime, not only for a good night’s sleep but also to give our brains something to work from. So as soon as you wake up in the morning you have direction. You could imagine that your thinking brain is a sat nav, navigating through life. Sat navs have no purpose without a postcode so or somewhere to aim for. Therefore, to ensure our brains are guiding us in the right direction it is useful to give it a destination. You could try saying; “Tomorrow I want to have an easy productive day’’, ‘’Tomorrow I will be kind to others and to myself’’. If you are not sure how to create an affirmation, then you can that is where the fun starts. You can say it quietly in your mind, you could say it out loud, or shout it! Or you could write it down with your what’s been goods. The importance is that you create your own intention, think about what you truly want that is within your control and make it happen, and remember to have fun with it too.
- Quality sleep – We all know the benefits of a good night’s sleep out way staying up and watching a Netflix series until the early hours. Sleep cleanses your body and your mind so you can wake up feeling rejuvenated and motivated ready to start a brand-new day. However, if you are struggling to get a good quality night’s sleep, I have an amazing tool for you. My guided relaxation is available on you here https://reset-hypnotherapy.co.uk/download-guided-relaxation/ All you need to do is get comfy, settle down in bed (after your affirmations) and close your eyes. A client of mine once described my guided relaxation as taking their mind to the spa. If you are more interested on how to improve your sleep you can also read my blog https://reset-hypnotherapy.co.uk/help-to-improve-sleep/
- Make yourself a priority – With all the Christmas shopping, parties, food planning etc it’s very easy to run out of steam. Just like an electronic device we need to recharge. Practicing self-care by making yourself a priority is key to ensuring the capacity to cope with whatever life throws at us. Self-care does not need to be long soaks in the bath or a massage, it simply needs to be something just for you with no pressure other than just being you. Why not make prioritising you a new Christmas tradition? There are many ways we can do this with a festive twist; wreath making, building a gingerbread house, baking, going for a walk, cheesy Christmas films. Do something for you.
- sELF Compassion – This does not always come easily to everyone, and it is something I help many of my clients with. Internal self-talk is really important because the language we use is impactful on the way we feel about ourselves and the world around us. One of the most insightful pieces of information I leant during my training as a hypnotherapist was that our thoughts are not real. Thoughts are just thoughts. To add to this I learnt I had control over them too. How amazing is that? I can create negative thoughts so I knew I could also create positive ones. This helps especially when thinking about myself. A great way to begin self-compassion is to understand your thoughts.
- Reframe it – Start by recognising yourself talk, just noticing what’s happening and when is a good way of kicking things off. This is because once we understand and recognise what’s happening then we can do something about it. A negative thought can be changed into a positive one easily; This is too hard – I am learning, It needs to be perfect – Good can be good enough, I made a mistake – I’ll learn firm this and do things differently next time. Reframing our thoughts is a wonderfully way of empowering ourselves and gaining confidence.
- Simply breathe – I know this might sound completely silly but remembering to breath is super important. Controlled breathing keeps us relaxed. This is because breathing uses two different systems, unconscious and conscious. Unconscious breathing happens when the subconscious brain takes control and enables us to breath without any focused effort. This is good news as this gives us the opportunity to carry out tasks without having to keep checking if we are breathing. However, when we are in a state of stress because of a perceived threat, our unconscious breathing changes. It becomes quicker and shallower. Knowing this gives us the ability to take control of the physical changes. In doing so this dials down the survival response when and if we need too. Start by breathing on for four seconds, holding the breath for 7 seconds and breathing out for 8 seconds. Conscious breathing is a great tool to slow down our breath and remind the primitive brain that everything is ok and that we are safe.
- Try new things –When you give your brain something different to focus on it hasn’t got time to create negative thoughts. The brain loves novelty so instead of doing the same thing you have done every Christmas why not change things slightly. You could make it a new tradition to do something differently every year.
- Boundaries & connection – Healthy boundaries with others are important for strong relationships. When all parties know what is ok and what isn’t ok that’s when connections grow, and trust is formed. Saying ‘NO’ can sometimes feel scary. This is especially true if it is perceived we might let someone down. However, it is always a positive thing to protect our own feelings, so we have capacity to be ourselves. At Christmas give yourself permission to chose to spend time with good people and happy conversations.
- Break it down – With many lists and tasks that present themselves during the run up to Christmas it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Tasks are easily completed when broken down into manageable steps. By focusing on the immediate smallest step, you can get things done more efficiently.
- Focus on what is important – You could be feeling overwhelmed or you’re not sure which task to compete first. Focus on what is important to you and what makes you feel good. By dropping the high stress rituals and traditions by trading them in for feel good activities. Make what your thought needed to be perfect just good enough.
- Be here now – Hit the pause button and be PRESENT it literally is the best gift of all!!
Warm Christmas wishes from Emma
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