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De-stress at Christmas rather than distress at Christmas.

20 Dec

Hello everyone, this blog post is one of those annoying “it’s Christmas so we must have a seasonal style post”. Well, sort of. And I really do hope it’s not that annoying too.

Actually, this post came into creation as one of those brain dumps I tend to have on Facebook in my “private” profile. I say private with “” simply because if it’s on the internet or in one of those clouds somewhere it’s about as private as walking down the street. It might not seem like anyone can see you – as you can’t see them – but that doesn’t mean what you’re doing isn’t being monitored. No, not meaning to sound like some paranoid conspiracy theorist, just trying to explain that the internet isn’t as private as some people seem to think it is.

So anyhow, back on this not so private profile of mine on Facebook where I had a bit of a brain dump about how overwhelmed I was feeling about this whole festive season. What with the ever present money pressure most of us feel, kid’s expectations of what’s to happen, messy house, various personal family matters and that whole hypothetical issue with my work and copyright infringements… well, my black dogs didn’t need to be called to my side, they’ve been here lurking a few weeks now.

The brain dump took all of this and tried to explain how I was getting through it all. And the more I wrote the more I felt it would make a good blog post. I’ve extended it and changed it a little from the original “vent” but I do hope it helps some of you out.

And here it is…

This is the first Christmas season where I’ve felt totally overwhelmed, stressed and anti the whole idea of it. I can’t put my finger on exactly what is causing it as I know for a fact there are several things… including my inner black dogs wanting a gift too (me to have a serious melt down). I used to love Christmas, clean house all done up in tinsel and sparkly things, decorations everywhere and the excuse to whip up some of the yummiest meals to then live off for a week or so. Loved it… and now I’m over it and want to skip it this year despite how terrible that would be to my children.

And so, if you’re feeling like me and feeling down and out and wanting to call the whole thing off, this is what I’ve been telling myself to keep going:

The world isn’t suddenly going to come to an end if Christmas is a low key event this year. There doesn’t need to be dozens of gifts under the tree to show your kids you love them. There doesn’t have to be a Solstice feast with dozens of friends simply because it’s what you do every other year. If they’re really your friends, they will understand if you’re not feeling that sociable or festive. True friends will still be your friends. Those that aren’t, weren’t in there for the long haul, their loss.

Please remember: You have a home, food, a family, mostly good health and live in a country free of war and major conflict (if we ignore our politicians). Just let that negativity slide away.

We build up too many expectations of the perfect and magical Christmas… there’s no such thing. They’ve always been a mess and chaos and full of ups and downs, the human brain is just very good at only remembering the good stuff and forgetting the bad.

Go with the flow, smile at the bitchy family comments and snipes and ignore them. That is what family is like, you can’t choose your family but you can choose how to respond to them. Be the better person and don’t bite back.

Remember those who can’t be with you and wish them the best. And think on those who won’t ever be with you for Christmas again and remember the good times rather than feel sad at their passing. I’ve lost part of my extended family this year and Christmas is going to be tough because of it so it’s time to focus on the positive, remember the good and let the bad dissolve away.

Remind your children how important they are, how much they are loved and how these are the greatest gifts you could have. Spend time with them as your gift, rather than pile them high with plastic fantastic gifts that won’t last the New Year. They will remember a day in the park where mummy and daddy played with us more than a broken toy. This year we’ve chosen a new board game together, and plan on spending Boxing Day with just the five of us playing games, watching DVDs and snacking on those ‘sometimes’ foods we avoid for the rest of the year.

Thank your friends and family for being there for you this year… those that have been. I know this won’t work for everyone, but I am basing this on my own internal pep talk so work with me here. Again, think of the positives you’ve had with them this year, the other stuff isn’t worth a space in your head. Mentally rip it up and flush it down the loo. This is the advice I give to my kids and I think it works well for grown-ups too.

Basically – a lot of stressful and high anxiety situations we feel we’re in right now are that way because we let them be. Let’s leave that fight or flight instinct for when we really need it and just focus on being grounded, being ourselves, seeing what we have rather than angst over how we feel it should be… Just enjoy being so very lucky to live in a place of peace, abundant food, clean water and a safe place to sleep.

Did that help at all?

As, you know, for most of us life really isn’t that bad. I know there are some who have a true reason to feel stressed, miserable and alone at this time and so maybe share a thought for them? Possibly even help where you can? Be a shoulder, lend an ear, donate money for a food box to a complete stranger so they can enjoy Christmas lunch too. If you feel money is too tight or you’re too busy for this, don’t complain you have it tough! Because if you have time to moan you have time to donate. Or is that just me? Every true charity shaking their donation cans I’ve been past in the last few days, I dropped some coins in. Gold ones too. The children I sponsor not only got their usual Christmas cards, but I donated a little more to ensure they got something special along with it. Heck, to them getting a mosquito net for their bed was an amazing gift and I wasn’t even trying! Help a friend out who might be struggling to meet commitments. Even if that’s just having them over for an afternoon and subtly send them home with “left overs” so they have some nice treats for later. I love to cook and bake but 80% of what I make I give away. Not because it’s bad and I don’t want it, but because it’s good and I want to share it.

Remember how awesome you are, know you are worth it and even if you find yourself alone this Christmas, just know someone is thinking of you right now. Even if it’s just a total stranger like me sending out thoughts of love and hope to those not with friends and family this Christmas.

Please remember I am one of the biggest, most cynical bitches I know. Why think the positive when the negative is easier and more likely to come true, right? Well no, wrong! And this is one of the biggest things I’ve had to learn this year. In all situations, no matter how bad they are, try and find the positive. As I’ve realised I am a very lucky person to have what I have, despite all I don’t have. I am indeed blessed and I am a lot more awesome than I might think I am on most days. Oh, the “happy pills” prescribed by my Doctor might have helped with this too, but hey. At least I can see it’s true now, rather than just some twaddle being told to me.

No matter what your belief, religion, location, popularity, salary, skin colour, sports preference or shoe size – I am wishing you a safe and happy holidays and hoping the very best for you in the new calendar year. You’re awesome, you’re worth it and don’t let anyone try and tell you otherwise… even if that anyone is inside your head. They’re wrong.

Be happy, be safe, be proud of who you are.

Until next time,

Janis.

Some of the bunter teller I've made this year.

Some of the bunter teller I’ve made this year.

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2014 in More pep talk than writing

 

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