I see things that I look forward to in life such as birthdays, holidays and of course Christmas, as bubbles. I try so hard to make sure they don’t pop, doing everything in my power to protect them, that it causes me anxiety. This anxiety manifests in many ways, from OCD kicking in, which makes me check that I have saved my work properly – leaving me with about three hundred back ups of the same thing – to obsessively thinking about things that are going to go wrong (insert the most ridiculous thoughts – the mind is powerful). I have spent too many Christmases with a cricked neck and it got to a point where it had to stop. Now, each Christmas, each holiday, each birthday, I follow a little ritual that helps me unwind and bring my mind down to the pace of the season.
1.Get a massage – yes, it’s indulgent but it’s a way I tell my whole body that it’s time to relax and in this moment I’m kind to myself, reminding myself how much I do deserve it.
2. Postpone worry – I now try to protect that period by making it a worry free zone. Any worry I have I can deal with when it’s over, and I have come to enjoy the power of postponing worry after a lot of practice. There is nothing I can do about any issues at that moment, so I need to put it out of my mind.
3. Live in the moment – by focussing on the here and now and being mindful, I try to savour the time and remind myself it’s not a time to worry but a real chance to enjoy myself.
4. Let go – something that is stressful about these periods is the pressure for them to be perfect. By reminding myself that there will be more times like these, it takes that pressure away. Even little moments of enjoyment are things to be grateful for. Perfect isn’t possible.
5. Be grateful – especially at the end of the year, it’s nice to recalibrate and realise all the things that I appreciate no matter how hard I have found it at times. We all have something to be grateful for and it can help bring out the sun through the clouds.
These might not be what works for everyone, but they work for me. I hope you can take one or two things from my list or be inspired to write your own. The holidays can be tough and they may not turn out how you had expected or hoped, but it’s important to be kind to ourselves, especially after such a hard year for us all