At this time of year it can be easy to come down with festive "fluenza”. It's highly contagious, often costly and may be brought on by large crowds doing last-minute Christmas gift shopping, over-stimulated children, panic buying of groceries and going anywhere that sells seafood.
While Christmas may not be a time of traditional celebration for everyone, it provides an opportunity to take some time out and spend quality time with friends and family - at least that's the intention for many.
Reality can be somewhat different though depending on your circumstances and could be stressfull.
For some, just the thought of everything that 'needs' to be done can create anxiety.
For others it could be the strain on their finances, getting all their work completed before the break, spending time with family members or friends that they don't see often and don't really get along with.
All potential reasons that we may be experiencing a build-up of stress so it is a good time to consider how to make the next few days as enjoyable as possible.
Here are three suggestions that may help:
We're not taught how to breathe effectively in different situations, but it can make a big difference. When stressed or anxious you are likely to feel tension in your body, it may be shoulders, neck, head or elsewhere; next time you feel like this, focus on your breathing and take a small breath in and a longer breath out. Continue this unless you feel dizzy and you should feel the tension reduce.
PLAN BUT NOT TOO MUCH
It's good to have a plan but if you find that you get anxious when things don't go according to your plan then you may have unrealistic expectations and it's time to change.
Unexpected things can and do happen that will be outside your control, so allow for some festive flexibility and flow and see it as an opportunity to get creative.
BE HERE NOW
The stress and self-inflicted pressure of preparation, what we should be doing, who we need to call, forgotten gifts or unsent cards may result in the days blurring into one and have us collapse into an exhausted heap come Boxing Day evening.
Make a promise to yourself to enjoy each moment whatever it brings, ensure you have some quality time and remember that you are creating treasured memories for yourself and others for years to come.
Nick and I wish you a safe and relaxing break.