Francesca Moresi – Psychotherapy in London and Online

Keep calm it’s only Christmas

Every year it’s the same old story: we are supposed to enjoy Christmas and be happy but, actually, we may feel stressed and under pressure.
For some people it’s the race to buy gifts, for others it’s the cooking, for someone else it’s the time to spend with the family: we all have different reasons to feel stressed at Christmas.
So, here are some tips on how to handle stress at Christmas.
  • Remember that nothing is mandatory. We should feel free to express ourselves and our wishes on how to spend the holidays. Don’t do things just because “you are supposed to”, but rather choose what to do according to your inclinations.
  • Don’t care about what people expect from you. Expectations can be a huge weight on our shoulders and, when they drive our behaviours, we feel under pressure. So, don’t worry about expectations and set yourself free!
  • Give yourself as a gift. First, donate a gift only to those people you really want to donate a gift to. Then, rather than spending time and money to look for an object, donate yourself! We often struggle to find the quality time to dedicate to our friends, so you can decide to give your time to spend together, doing something that you and your friends love.
  • Give yourself a gift. Dedicate time to yourself and give yourself a treat, or a gift, so you won’t feel that you are using all your energy only to make others happy.
  • Don’t binge eating. After binging you will feel heavier and perhaps full of guilt and remorse. Try to eat and chew very slowly, to talk more when you are sitting at the table and be aware of those things you already know you will regret eating.
  • Avoid wasting. Whether it’s money, food, or wrapping paper, be mindful so that you can save and recycle.
  • Help someone. Embrace the spirit of Christmas and be generous towards someone who needs your help or is less fortunate. You will feel very rewarded and more grateful for what you have in your life!
  • Create a warm atmosphere. You can decorate your home in a very simple way, perhaps using candles, and then you can invite those friends who will bring a wave of warmth into your home. You will then enjoy a relaxed atmosphere, connecting with the people you love.
  • Don’t let your family stress you. At Christmas we often spend more time than usual with our family; for many this can be very challenging and it can bring to light conflicts and disagreements. Embrace a positive and peaceful attitude: make the first step towards reconciliation and don’t try to make your point at all costs.
  • Don’t be harsh on yourself. Stop demanding too much from yourself and stop worrying about your performance. Make a list of all your qualities and appreciate yourself for who you are; increase the awareness of the positive in you and in your life and enjoy it.
  • Make a wish for the New Year. Nothing too serious or important…just something that will make you smile.

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