Christmas is the most magical time of year.
Yet too many of us let it be a highly stressful time of year.
We are running around buying presents for everyone. We are trying to finish tasks & projects before the end of year break. We are straining to organise Christmas parties.
With all this added pressure, tempers get short. One cross word feeds into another and gets passed on. Things get out of hand quickly.
Does this sound like your Christmas experience? If it does, then stop.
Stop and think about whether you are treating Christmas as a time of refreshment or a time of burden.
Stop and think about whether you feel like Christmas is an obligation or a gift.
If Christmas is mostly negative for you, it’s time for a change of attitude.
Firstly, jettison the stuff that is bringing it down for you. Too much obligatory gift-buying? Buy everyone chocolates or donations to charity instead of wasting lots of effort on gifts. Or break the gift-buying habit all together. Too much work? Assert yourself with your employer to make sure you are getting time away from the job. (And if you are so indispensable to them, make sure you are getting generous overtime pay!)
Secondly, assert what you want the focus of the season to be about. For many of us, it will be a celebration of family, faith or friendship. If your days are revolving around insignificant things rather than what truly matters to you, you’ll miss out. Stop often to refocus and ensure you are enjoying this time.
Thirdly, check your own attitude. There are bound to be people around you who have bad attitudes and are treating Christmas far too aggressively. Don’t be one of them.
It can be that you take out your frustrations on the first annoyance that comes along, like a tired co-worker who has made a mistake or a waiter who has messed up your order. It may be very tempting to give both barrels to them, and they’ll wear your anger at not just them but the bad traffic & rude punters you dealt with earlier.
But try a different approach. Try kind words.
Encourage your co-workers to go home early instead of nit-picking their efforts.
Talk to your partner about how you can have some special time together rather than snapping at them for forgetting something.
When the cashier is stressed out, reassure them they aren’t being any trouble rather than giving them a hard time.
Don’t give bland generic Christmas greetings. Tell those closest to you why they are special to you.
And stop rushing around. Stop with someone and have a relaxed conversation.
Spread joy. The change of attitude will brighten your mood, and you’ll start to feel the real Christmas spirit.