December 2014 Reflections


                                                       CHRISTMAS EDITION


Well it is hard to believe, but we are only a few weeks away from Christmas.  It is pretty frantic out there in the shops and on the roads as everyone is searching for their gifts, planning their menus, booking holidays and winding up work for the end of another year.    This is such a busy period and it can be stressful as we count down the days and wonder if we will be able to get everything done in time.

In this edition I wanted to pass on a few tips for reducing the stress and making this a more relaxing and meaningful time.  There is so much hype about Christmas that it is easy to get caught up in the buying frenzy which the stores promote to boost their sales.  This is a time when we can find ourselves spending more than we can afford or need to, and it is worth taking a bit of time to think about how much you want to spend and prioritise the people in your life to whom you wish to give gifts.    Perhaps you can join with others in buying one larger gift rather than several people giving a number of small gifts.  If you are entertaining, keep it simple - choose fresh food which can be prepared without a lot of preparation so you get time to talk to your guests and dont end up feeling exhausted at the end of the day.  Don't be a perfectionist.  Remember that the emphasis should be on enjoying yourself as well as entertaining others.  People don't really expect you to spend hours preparing or searching for the perfect table cloth or matching dinner wear.  What they will remember is that they had a relaxing, happy time and that the food was tasty and plentiful. 

Christmas is traditionally a time when we get together with families and friends to celebrate.  For many people this emphasis on close relationships can be difficult, particularly if they are separated from their families and have few close friendships.  It can intensify the feelings of loneliness and remind people of painful losses.   Not all families fit the "happy family "stereotype and tensions within families can be exacerbated when people who see little of each other get together for the whole day.  The best way of handling such situations is to keep the time limited and keep your expectations realistic.   Remind yourself that Christmas is only one day and if things dont go the way you would hope, then you can relax on Boxing Day and put it out of your mind.

As this year draws to an end this  is an opportunity to remind ourselves of what we have achieved during the previous twelve months.  Think about the changes you have made in your personal or work life.  What are you pleased about in terms of your work (paid or unpaid) your relationships, improvements in your health and fitness?  Maybe there are things you have made a start on which you want to progress more in the next year?   My last Newsletter focused on gratitude and appreciation and I think these are worth reminding ourselves about at Christmas.  As you celebrate and enjoy the festive season, take time to acknowledge all of the good things in your life and even if this year has involved some difficulties and painful experiences for you, try to see your whole experience - not only the negative ones and be aware that it is not the things that happen to us, but the way we respond to them, that really matters. 

I will be taking a break over Christmas and will be back from 15th January.  I wish you all a very enjoyable time over the Christmas season and if you are travelling away on holidays, have a safe trip and come back relaxed.