I love Christmas. It’s a time to unwind, catch up with friends and family in front of a roaring fire, and really take time out for me. I always come out the other side of Christmas feeling rested and ready for the New Year.
But for some people Christmas can be a really stressful time. Cooking for the masses; buying food, drink, presents; cleaning and decorating the house; writing hundreds of cards….the list seems endless. And then there is the excessive cost of Christmas, not to mention spending time with family members that you may not get on with!
There are practical ways to cope with Christmas – planning ahead, making lists, setting a realistic budget and sticking to it; shopping online; delegating tasks to those around you and so on.
But how do you keep sane through all this? How do you ensure that you come out the other side of Christmas not mentally exhausted?
One of the things that gets me through stressful situations is putting aside time for myself. It does not have to be hours. Just 10 to 15 minutes of “me” time can make a world of difference to how I cope with things around me.
If you can, go for a walk or do some exercise – this will lift your spirit and also allows you to get away and have some space!
If you can only snatch 15 to 20 minutes in short bursts, go to a quiet room – lock the door if you have to – and do some deep breathing, stretching or even meditation – all good ways to recharge your batteries and enhance your tolerance threshold!
There are so many ways to meditate – and below is the Counting the Breath Technique.
*Find a quiet room in the house. Go in there and close the door. If you need to, let your partner/spouse know you are doing this and ask them to make sure you are not disturbed for around 20 minutes.
*Sit comfortably with your back straight. This could be on the bed against the headboard, on the floor against a wall or on a chair. If you prefer you can lie down.
*Commit yourself to 10 minutes, or 15 minutes – the length of time is not so important – as long as you stick to the time you have chosen.
*Closing your eyes if you feel comfortable to do so. Just sitting with that for a moment.
*Now bringing your attention to your breath. Exhaling and inhaling through your nose in your own time.
*Feeling the different sensations as you breathe in and out – the rise and fall of your chest and stomach.
*Now, begin to mentally count your breath…In breath – 1, out breath – 2, in breath – 3, out breath – 4 and so on until you reach 10. Then go back to counting from one.
*Keeping your attention on your breath.
*If you find your mind wandering, do not worry. Acknowledging that your mind has wandered, but not judging yourself. Being kind to yourself. Gently bringing your mind back to your breathing – and carry on.
*Whatever you are feeling – calm, angry, frustrated – just letting it happen. Acknowledging your feelings – allowing them to be.
*Continue this for around 10 minutes – longer if you wish.
*When you finish, take some deep breaths and open your eyes. Stay sitting or lying for a few moments before you get up.
*Once you are standing, shake out your body and you will feel energised and ready to face anything!
Have a healthy and happy Christmas!