Ignore the hype
We get bombarded with images of happy families, jingles and expectations of a bundle of endless joy at Christmas. If you, like me have some killer memories of awful fights at Christmas involving copious amounts of alcohol, this time of year may not be your favourite time. In fact, it may a time of year that you hope passes by quickly. Bad Christmas memories, coupled with stress courtesy of a dysfunctional childhood, can leave you with some pretty distinctive trauma triggers. Chances are you may suffer from depression or anxiety or a combination of both – each which can be easily triggered at Christmas.
So fear not… I know you are supposed to be joyful and yet instead you feel more like a Christmas grinch. However, all that is required is a simple way to reframe the entire festive season. Whether you are hosting a lunch for 15 and you have begun to remember how much you hate entertaining or you are attending a lunch where you are supposed to supply presents and lovingly prepared delicacies..here is the mindset to get you through.
Breathe in deeply and channel your inner Santa
You need to channel your inner Santa. This is my version of ” fake it until you make it.” We had a music box when we were kids, Santa had a long soft silky wool beard, rosy cheeks and he looked incredibly benevolent. We would wind him up and he played beautiful soft music and he slowly whirled around and his cheeks glowed red (when the batteries were operating as they should). I always felt good when Santa was smiling at me and playing his soft melodious tinkling music.
As a little kid, trying to block out the bad things, in my mind, music box Santa was kind, caring and understanding. It may sound corny, but if I attempt any one of these three Santa attitudes at any stage of the day or the stressful days leading up to the day …I feel better. So as I open my door to a flood of visitors I breathe in and try to focus on making them feel welcome. If I pass someone sleeping rough outside the supermarket, rather than feel sad and try to avoid them, I make myself approach them and I ask if they would like me to buy them a bun or a cup of coffee? If someone forgets the extra salad that they promised they would contribute, rather than wanting to send them back home, I breathe, look them in the eye and say it doesn’t matter. Because the truth is… it doesn’t really matter anyway.
Don’t get me wrong I have lots of moments in between when I am not being kind, caring and understanding. Moments when I feel like being something far less than gracious, and much more grinch like! However, repeating this mantra “channel your inner Santa ~ fake it until you make it” get’s me through. I believe that most things worthwhile take some hard work and repetition, so I work at it, pretty much each year when the old feelings get stirred up. This is because I truly believe there is a ripple effect with being kind, caring and understanding. If you make the effort for others, it then creates a good vibe which actually comes back to you and rewards you for your efforts, even though this is not your intention.
Also, I have to say thanks to doing some really good therapy myself, compared to the desolate Christmas’s of my childhood, nowadays things are pretty plain sailing. I have learnt to attract joy and calmness and love into my adult life. As well as this, I know I can look forward to the end of the festivities, when I let my internal Santa do a happy dance… because I’ve got through another year and now I can chill out on the couch and enjoy the left over Christmas ham!