Not so long ago, I greeted the same sight with a feeling of dread. Christmas already? Oh, no!
At its core, the season’s celebrations are primarily around family. This is wonderful when everything is peachy at home but can serve as a cruel reminder if the family has changed in some way through the year.
There’s nothing quite like having to split your holiday with a newly-split family or eat dinner in the presence of the ‘empty chair’.
It’s not just loss that can create stresses at this time of year. Many of us are struggling to make ends meet and are facing the daunting prospect of going into debt in order to buy presents. And even the most functional of families can start to fray when you add heat, expectations, alcohol and a year’s worth of disappointments to mull over.
A few years ago, when death rocked our family in September and the December festivities loomed, we made the radical decision to just cancel Christmas.
We still got together, but there were no presents, no Christmas tree and the main meal was a Jamie Oliver risotto.
We held a ritual around candles to honour our loved ones and we breathed a collective sigh of relief that we didn’t have to fight our way through shopping malls, picking over bargains or asphyxiate in a kitchen baking dinners when it was hitting 40 degrees outside.
The ease with which that year’s celebrations passed made me aware of how important it is to minimize the stresses of the season.
So in the spirit of sharing, here are my top seven tips of how to make it through:
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*Ingrid Poulson (BA, Bed, MA – Cognitive Science, TAA), is an inspirational speaker. She talks about overcoming adversity, stress coping, managing challenges and resilience and the latest brain and behavioural research and the lived experience of someone who has ‘been there’. The transcript of her interview with Andrew Denton on Enough Rope can be read here. You can contact her at: Ingrid@steadfasttraining.com.au.