Emotional wellbeing brand, RESCUE®, partners with hypnotherapist and coach Chloe Brotheridge to bring some practical strategies for a stress-free Christmas.
What would ‘good enough’ look like
If you’re prone to being a perfectionist, remember this, perfectionism isn’t about high standards, it’s actually about never feeling that things are good enough. It’s not the pursuit of what’s good, but instead the pursuit of what’s bad. You can’t win and it’s a sure way to burn out and never feel satisfied. If this is the case for you, ask yourself what ‘good enough’ would look like. What is a good enough gift, outfit or dinner? Then remind yourself that good enough is always enough – this will help you towards not just a stress free Chrsitmas, but a stress-free lifestyle too.
Rethink your triggers
The festive period can be a minefield for our triggers, where the words or actions of others can trigger painful emotions within us. An effective way to navigate these difficulties is to think beforehand about what things may come up and then mentally rehearse how you’d like to respond instead. That might look like coming up with the ideal pithy reply, deciding to take the high ground and stay in your integrity or choosing to walk away and take some deep breaths. Making a plan for how you’ll respond will help you to manage these difficult moments more easily ultimately helping you feel far more stress-free.
Try the ‘Physiological Sigh’
Braving the shops on Christmas eve? Up until midnight wrapping presents? Roast potatoes setting off the smoke alarm? Try this breathing method to quickly promote feelings of calmness. Dr Andrew Huberman from Stanford University created the ‘physiological sigh’. It can be done discreetly, and the resulting calmness happens right away. To do this, take a deep breath in through your nose followed by another smaller, quicker breath through the nose. After both in-breaths, exhale slowly out through the mouth. Do this one to three times to calm your nervous system quickly.
Ask for help
Many of us are great at helping others but find it hard to ask for or even accept help ourselves. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, think about some specific ways that others could help out. Make the decision beforehand that if someone offers you help, you’ll say yes – even if it feels uncomfortable for you to do this. Write a list of tasks that could be taken off your plate, such as bringing a dessert to Christmas dinner, helping you to wrap the kids presents or taking the dog for a walk. There are no prizes for doing everything yourself and many people want to help out and feel useful – don’t deny them the joy of helping!
Switch off and unplug
With everything extra that Christmas brings, it can be helpful to remove some of the mental noise from our lives so that we don’t get overwhelmed. Whatever that looks like for you, find a way to unplug and switch off. That might mean deleting the social media apps from your phone, steering clear of the news for a few days, making sure your out-of-office is firmly on, or deciding to put your phone in airplane mode after 7pm in the evening.
Stick with some routine
Our routine can be like an anchor that helps us to feel secure and safe. If you find yourself away from home for the holidays, try and maintain some level of normalcy in terms of your routine. Whether that means going on a couple of runs or keeping up with your daily 10-minute meditations, sitting down to drink a calming tea before bed; staying consistent with certain aspects of your routine will help you to take care of yourself, make it easier to get back into the swing of things once Christmas is over and help you feel overall far more stress-free.
Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and Family History Zone. After obtaining a bachelors degree in English literature and media studies, Joanne went on to spend two years of her life writing and teaching English in China and Vietnam. Prior to joining Black and White Trading, Joanne was a marketing coordinator for luxury property in Brighton focusing on blog writing, photography and video creation.