November 2011 Reflections

                                                 PRE CHRISTMAS EDITION       



                                             7 TIPS FOR BEATING CHRISTMAS STRESS


 With only 4 weeks to Christmas, now is the time to be thinking about how to take the stress out of this busy period

and making it an enjoyable time.  Studies have shown that Christmas rates highly on the stress scale.  Christmas is

traditionally viewed as a time for friends and family to get together and celebrate.  However, for many people

Christmas will bring up painful memories of loved ones who are far away or no longer here.  For people who are single,

divorced or widowed Christmas can be a lonely and difficult time.  The difference between the hype and the reality can

make some people dread this time and wish it were over.  Regardless of your personal situation, a little thought now

can help you avoid some of the pitfalls that often cause this time to be more stressful than it needs to be.  Set out

below are some tips to help you manage the Christmas season ahead.


TIP 1 - PLAN - Start making a list of the tasks you need to do now.  If you send out Christmas cards, buy them now

 and post them early.  Visit your local Christmas card charity shop where you will save money and help a needy cause.

 Think about who you will buy gifts for and make a list.  Consider the option of donating what you might have spent on

 a gift for someone who really does not need any more "stuff" and help change lives in poor countries.


TIP 2 - HAVE A BUDGET - A lot of stress at Christmas comes from financial problems - work out how much you can

afford to spend and keep to it.  Ignore the advertising hype and avoid expensive materialistic gifts which are

unnecessary.  If money is tight and you have a big family, consider the increasingly popular Kris Kringle so you don't

have to buy for everyone or just buy for children and not the adults. 


TIP 3 - KEEP ENTERTAINING SIMPLE - If you are doing Christmas at your house, don't exhaust yourself by overdoing

it.  If you are working and looking after children, don't try to be super woman by rushing around trying to gift shop,

 clean, buy food and put on the "perfect" Christmas meal.  Remember the focus should be on being with family and

friends and having fun, not running yourself ragged and being too exhausted to enjoy yourself.  Don't try to do

everything yourself - ask for help and delegate.


TIP 4 - GO EASY ON THE ALCOHOL - If you are going to the work Christmas party, enjoy yourself, but make sure you

 drink in moderation.  You don't want to be the focus of office gossip after the party and spend the new year trying to

 live it down.  Find other ways to relax and indulge yourself during these busy weeks - have a massage, pamper

yourself, increase your exercise, indulge in self care.


TIP 5 - BE PREPARED FOR FAMILY TENSIONS - When family members get together at Christmas it can bring up old

 tensions, particularly if you don't see each other much throughout the year.  Be aware that people can be tired and

 stressed at this time and may overdo the alcohol in an attempt to cope.  Keep a look out for potential conflict and 

 minimise your time with any relatives you find difficult.  Remind yourself it is only a few hours and you won't have to

 see them for a while probably and keep your sense of humour.   If you are divorced and have children, access visits

can be difficult.  Try to put aside any negative feelings towards your ex partner and focus on making sure the children

 have a happy time.  If there is an issue, try to keep a sense of perspective and don't let it affect the day.


TIP 6 - SPEND TIME WITH PEOPLE YOU LIKE - If you find yourself doing the rounds of social visits out of politeness,

 keep these brief and spend more time with people who are special to you.  If you don't have any family, then seek out

 people who are also spending Christmas alone and do somelthing together.


TIP 7 - KEEP YOUR EXPECTATIONS REALISTIC - Remember Christmas is only one day.  Don't get upset if everything is

not perfect.  Sometimes with all the hype people can feel a sense of disappointment that this time did not live up to

their expectations.   If everything did not go according to plan don't worry you can relax on Boxing Day when it is all

over again for another year.


If you are finding the stress of Christmas is bringing up old issues for you, you may wish to talk about your feelings.  I

would be happy to assist you with this.  I will be available until 22nd December for appointments, so contact me on

0438 855328 if you would like assistance.


                                                      HAPPY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE