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Top Tips - How to Relax and Enjoy Christmas

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5834f358d8253ad30084b9b2c04fe9f3.jpgIt’s so easy to get caught up in the rush of Christmas preparations – all that shopping, extra work and keeping other people happy, it’s not surprising if the holiday goes by in a flash - leaving us with just January’s credit card bill as a reminder.

Follow these tips and discover how you can make Christmas a more relaxing and enjoyable time.

Keep it Real

How ‘real’ is your idea of Christmas? Many of us create ‘the ideal Christmas’ in our minds, only to discover that it does not resemble our reality. Sending Christmas cards featuring clapboard houses in snowy Vermont may leave you feeling a little short- changed if you live in a small flat in the centre of town.

Avoid focusing too much on the ‘at home’ celebrity Christmas magazine articles – it’s hard not to make comparisons with our own lives. And avoid fancy, complicated, celebrity endorsed recipes - now is not the time to add more stress into your cooking. Remember, your Christmas is special and unique – it’s yours.

Create a Cut-off Point

Decide in advance exactly when you will stop preparing and working and start relaxing and enjoying. Writing down clear specific goals with time limits will mean you’re not only more likely to achieve them, but you’ll also make it easier to avoid unrealistic targets and deadlines.

Avoid Striving for Perfection

Perfection quite simply does not exist because everyone’s idea of perfection is slightly different. We all have different perceptions of d2a03e54f97755bd478cad7791222211.jpgreality – so train yourself to recognise when something is done or finished... and feel good about it.

Shopping

Take your H.A.T. off – if you are Hungry, Angry or Tired, you won’t be making the best shopping decisions. Take a break – have something to eat or drink. If that doesn’t make you feel better, stop shopping and return another day. Looking at things with a fresh pair of eyes will save you time in the long run, as you’ll avoid making costly mistakes.

Ghost of Christmas Past

If you’re starting to feel stressed or angry about the forthcoming celebrations, chances are you may be remembering bad experiences from past Christmases. Our thoughts create our feelings and if your thoughts are made up of disasters and arguments from previous years - get rid of them.

Take a few moments out, close your eyes and relax. Become aware of the pictures and sounds running through your mind as you think about Christmas. If your thoughts are creating a ‘disaster movie’ in your mind, fade those images into black and white and gradually begin to shrink them right down. If there’s a dialogue accompanying these pictures - turn the volume right down. Keep doing this until you’ve completely erased the bad thoughts and changed your feelings. Now, replace the bad images with some nice ones – a scene of this Christmas going just the way you’d like it to. The more you can visualise it going well, 54b8efac23f583825d75ef3a45dfcadf.jpgthe greater the odds are that it will.

Mood-changers

Christmas is a great time for catching up with those friends and relatives you only see once in a while. However, what if your ‘gathering’ is starting to get a little heated and you quickly begin to remember why it is you only see these people once in a while?

There are lots of different ways to change people’s moods. Most importantly, exercise is a wonderful way of burning off those stress chemicals – aim to get everyone out in the fresh air at least once a day.

When you’re indoors stimulate the senses by playing relaxing music or burning calming essential oils or candles. Ensure there’s ‘good’ food on offer to balance out the excess sugar and alcohol that gets consumed at this time of year. (Turkey, avocados and jacket potatoes are great for this!) Change the seating arrangements and even move the furniture around a bit – this will give everyone a slightly different perspective and create a ‘shift’ in the energy flow in the room.

Stay in the Present

It’s not uncommon for our minds to flip between the past (to things that happened even 5 minutes ago) and the future (to things that you’re planning to happen). It’s possible to completely ‘miss the moment’ and come away from Christmas feeling as if it didn’t really happen. Aim to take a few moments each day to keep yourself in the present - notice what is going 99ab5f0e18d58709cfa1671bd31153ca.jpgon around you and actively ‘create memories’ for yourself.

Imagine you have a camera in your mind and actively take snapshots and notice the good things around you as they happen – the smile on your children’s faces, the good food, walks with the dog, etc. And as you notice each of these events, just allow a feeling of gratitude to fill your body. Good Christmases are made up of good feelings and the more you allow yourself to experience these, the more likely you are to come out of yours feeling it was a good one.

Create a ‘special memory’

Some families have a multitude of rituals and customs that they’ve acquired over the years and it’s what makes their Christmas unique. See if you can create a special memory for your family this year. Why not join the kids in rising early and seeing the sun rise or take everyone out and fly a kite? Equip yourself with bundles of mistletoe and aim to hug and kiss absolutely everyone, even those you’d rather not (!)... and notice how it changes your feelings for the better!

Don’t be too tired to sleep

Exhausted but too tired to sleep? Do you have endless shopping lists and turkey recipes running through your mind? Take a few moments to detox your mind – blow out three, long, slow breaths and this will begin to rid your body of the stress chemicals collecting there. Then, create a ‘relaxing movie in your mind’. Close your eyes and create a picture of the most relaxing place you can think of, such as a nice, warm, sunny beach. Continuing to keep this thought in your mind will automatically change the way you feel as your body will respond to what it sees.

Alicia Eaton

Alicia Eaton

Alicia Eaton is a Clinical Hypnotherapist and NLP Practitioner based in London’s Harley Street.  You can read more about her strategies for success in her latest book:  “Fix Your Life…with NLP”. 

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