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Surviving the silly season: How to handle Christmas feeling strong

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Christmas Shopping Survival

Surviving the silly season can be tough, whether you’re dealing with a fractured family, struggling for money, facing grief or loss, or you’re simply feeling overwhelmed by crowds and present pressure. Here Mimi Fong offers ideas on how to handle Christmas and the end of year period feeling stronger, more energised, and at ease in your life.


You can’t escape Christmas: It comes EVERY year!

As Christmas rolls around for 2019, so too do our festive season movie favourites … like ‘Love Actually’ (my absolute favourite), ‘The Holiday’, ‘Elf’, ‘The Santa Claus’, ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’, Ground Hog Day’ …

Hang on… did I just say ‘Groundhog Day’??!

Yep. That classic 1993 movie starring Andie McDowell and Bill Murray, where a self-centred weatherman goes to a small town for an assignment but ends up trapped in a cycle of reliving the same day over and over.

What a nightmare.

Sadly though, for many of us, this time of year is like ‘Groundhog Day’. So if this time of year is like that for you… isn’t it time you do something different…?

First step to surviving the silly season: Start with stress

That same familiar feeling of stress, overwhelm and anxiety often descends upon us, as we enter this hectic time of year. Throughout the year, you may have worked on your confidence with my course, Online Confidence Training, but Christmas is a new level of stress, for everyone, whether you are using tools to survive or not.

It’s Christmas, “the silly season”, and that means we go into survival mode, even though it’s the time of year when we should be unwinding, spending quality time with family and friends, and importantly, taking some much needed time out for ourselves to recharge and re-energise for the new year.

But instead we end up …

  • Feeling on edge
  • Saying we’re ‘stressed out’
  • Rushing to meet tight deadlines and deal with demanding clients
  • Running ourselves ragged with end of year school activities and concerts
  • Fighting the hordes of Christmas shoppers to buy presents for people we have no idea what to get
  • Succumbing to family traditions that we wish had become extinct along with the dinosaurs
  • Spending time with people we have no real connection with or committing socially

And the reward?

Physical and mental exhaustion with little or no energy left to crawl to the Christmas finishing line.

And don’t even get me started on the new year.

How did I handle Christmas? By breaking tradition!

What did we do?

This time last year, my family and I decided to take a stand. We’d had an exhausting year and just wanted a peaceful , relaxing and quiet day away from the pressures of socialising and the busy-ness and noise of that time of year.

So we declined the extended family invitation to spend Christmas with them… and spent Christmas on our own, just the three of us.

What was the reaction?

This was a choice we made to preserve our energy, wellbeing and manage our stress at Christmas time.  And boy, did we cop it…just imagine…

  • The guilt trips
  • The constant barrage of ‘why’s?’
  • Even the suggestion that we drop our daughter off so she could spend time with them, even if we didn’t want to! (Our response: No way!)

We stubbornly stood our ground … and we were so glad we did.

What happened?

We broke with tradition and put ourselves first… and because of that, it was a stress-less and happy day.

Tradition has its place, of course. But not if it’s at the expense of yourself. And you’re doing something just to please someone else- especially if you’re following tradition just for the sake of it, even though it stopped working for you a long time ago.

Create your own new tradition. One that works for you, and fits into the life you choose to have.

After all, the definition of insanity is to ‘keep on doing the same thing and expect different results’.

How to handle your own Silly Season: Manage your energy

You can survive Christmas feeling strong and energised- IF you are willing to do something different so you can get different results.

Here are a few simple suggestions on what you can do:

  • Ask yourself what is important vs. urgent?
    • Important refers to High Value Activities. These are activities which serve and go towards fulfilling your Purpose, and are a means to achieving your Goals/Targets.
    • Urgent is everything else!
  • Don’t be a control freak! Outsource or delegate where you can. Only do things you are best at or passionate about.
  • Tell yourself ‘it’s ok to be less than perfect’. In fact, ‘perfect’ doesn’t exist.
  • Be ok if you upset someone because you didn’t conform to their expectations. What they think is none of your business.
  • Keep your sense of humour and laugh at yourself when possible. It’s true when they say that ‘Laughter is the best medicine’. Think of the last time you had a good laugh and how that made you feel. It can help to clear your mind and also have a positive effect on those around you.
  • Put yourself first. Create non-negotiable time just for YOU every day to breathe and just be. Start with 5 minutes.

You survived! Finish Christmas feeling energised and strong

Finally, take time out to do a stock-take of the past 12 months.

Reflection is a key component to be able to let go and move forward without being weighed down by the baggage of the past year.

Special Offer: Download your FREE Checklist

To start the new year with clarity and motivation, free of regret and negativity…is simple. I’ve created a simple Check List you can download.

Or, watch my quick video below to find out how you can get a free copy:

GET MY FREE ‘YEAR IN REVIEW’ CHECKLIST


Seek more help during a stressful silly season

Readers seeking more support for mental illness can contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.

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