With Christmas now just around the corner, even though it may look a little different this year, you’ve likely begun seeing the familiar sight of festive decorations and the feeling of Christmas in the air.
The Christmas carols are playing on the radio, you’re planning the Christmas lunch menu and the children are starting to compile their Christmas wish-lists, hoping that they’ll be on Santa’s nice list so he’ll bring them a long list of new toys and treats this year.
While this time of year can be joyful, it can also be a source of stress for many people. Whether it’s squabbling over who’s hosting Christmas, juggling a diary full of functions, or overspending on presents and stocking fillers, it can be all too easy to get caught up in the stress of Christmas and lose sight of the things that are really important.
As people around the world universally know, this year has not been the easiest for any of us. Financial strain, health worries and uncertainty that have come hand in hand with living amid a global pandemic and may have taken some of the magic away from the festive season.
If 2020 has taught us anything it’s that gratitude for the things we do have and the people that support us is extremely important. This Christmas we must try and find time to slow down and be more mindful during this festive season. The implications of this are not only mental and physical health benefits but can also show our children that there is more to Christmas than the adrenaline rush that comes with unwrapping gifts!
Here are our top tips on how you and your loved ones can choose presence (over presents!) this Christmas:
1. Connect to creativity
Making homemade gifts is not only economical, but it also allows for quality time spent with your children and loved ones. Why not start a family Christmas tradition of making gifts together? Activities such as painting, drawing, crafting, sewing, cooking and writing enable children and adults alike to be more inventive and creative in their gift-giving as well as experience the satisfaction that comes from giving gifts created by hand.
2. Practise Gratitude
Christmas also coincides with the final month of the year, making it a great time to reflect on the people and things that we are grateful for. Taking the time to write out a list of things, people or activities that we value, as well what we’re grateful for, helps ground us and shift our attention towards the positive, which often gets overlooked, particularly after such a difficult year.
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3. Be mindful and slow down
As with any other stressful time of year, it’s important to make time to slow down and be mindful of your actions. Whether it’s a yoga class, journaling, heading out for a swim on a warm summer day or sitting down to read your favourite book.
Taking care of your mind and body can make a world of difference to your mood, mindset and even sleep this festive season.
4. Re-connect to what’s important
In the modern world, our lives are increasingly consumed by technology. Even when we are physically present our mind is often somewhere else entirely, often distracted by texts, email and social media. At this time of year, it can be harder than ever to switch off. Putting devices to one side as much as possible enables you to be more present with family and friends – your presence really is one of the greatest gifts you can give!
You could try setting yourself certain times of the day where you leave your phone in the other room or turn off the notifications for a few hours to avoid distractions and allow yourself to truly live in the moment.
Christmas can be a hectic and stressful time, so it’s particularly important to be kind, both to yourself and others. Christmas is meant to be a time of celebration, not agitation, so try to cut yourself and others some slack - keep in mind that just like you the people around are likely to be tired and burnt out after a tricky year.
Give yourself permission to take time out to slow down, enjoy the spirit of the festive season and remember to be present this year!