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Survive or thrive this Christmas?

The Christmas holidays can feel like both a blessing and a curse.

For those of us who celebrate it or at least get to have a break over the festive season, it is the one time of the year when everything seems to slow down. And this is an incredible opportunity to give ourselves the permission to slow down, focus on rest and connect with loved ones.

On the other hand, the holiday period can also feel like a curse.

Close proximity with family members often means little alone time or a lot of compromising.

Maybe we’re not able to be with loved ones, for whatever reasons. Or are grieving lost ones and lost relationships.

The change in routine and food habits can also make us feel quite vulnerable and triggered during that time of the year.

Expectations also play a big part in how the Christmas holidays make us feel.

The issue is, when we don’t know how to navigate these challenges, the temptation may just be that we want to survive this holiday season, instead of using this time to slow down, reinvigorate and thrive.

There is nothing wrong with you if you feel a mix of emotions over Christmas, and just want to get through to it. On the other hand, there is another way, a way to help find inner peace, and joy and cultivate connection this Christmas.

Here are some tips & coaching questions to help you thrive this Christmas:

Tip 1: Pay attention to your body

Your body is the visible part of your psyche. If you ignore it, you will miss out on important signals. Ensuring that you regularly check in with who you are feeling will help you regulate and answer any needs you may have. Are you drinking enough water? Eating nutritious food? Moving sufficiently? Just because it’s Christmas it doesn’t mean you need to throw away all of your eating, and exercising habits. It’s all about finding the balance that works for you this holiday.

A question for you to consider is: how do you intend to honour the signals from your body this Christmas?

Tip 2: Create space for flexibility and/or routine

if you know you’re the type of person who takes on a lot, and has a to-do list the length of Santa’s nice list, you need to consider how you will allow for flexibility in your holidays whether that’s giving yourself space, or time to just respond to your immediate needs and wants or not setting too many expectations on others. On the other hand, if you know you struggle with a lack of planning it would be worth considering how you intend to keep some routine or consistency. Whatever you need, trust yourself.

The question to ask yourself here is what can you bring more of (flexibility vs consistency/routine) to make your holidays more enjoyable?

Tip 3: Remember every trigger is an opportunity for you to get to know yourself better

You will most likely get triggered or activated at some point this holiday.

Whenever you feel triggered by a situation or a person, when things don’t go the way you would have wanted this Christmas, remember all of these moments are opportunities for you to get to know yourself better. In those moments you can choose whether to ignore what arises for you, thus bottling it all up and putting it aside. Or you can choose to address the triggers to help you break free from patterns and habits that maybe are no longer serving you.

Here is a quick exercise for you to practice working with triggers when they arise (just make a note of it if you are not able to work with it on the spot and come back to it later when you can).

Practise that sense of observer/curious mind, instead of judging how you feel, or buying into it, just allow yourself to be present with it, and ask yourself:

· Where do the sensations that are being awoken live in my body? Where do I feel it? What does it feel like? What form or shape does it have?

· If I was able to hold it in my hands, what would I notice about it, and how does it change my relationship with it?

· What does it need to feel better?

And wait for the answers to come to you without forcing them.

Tip 4: Bring playfulness into your holidays

As adults, we often forget how to be playful especially if we have parental or caring responsibilities. But doing things we love and making us feel alive is our birth right and quite frankly so important.

Aim to do something every day that makes your soul feel alive! Maybe pick up your guitar or paintbrushes, and go kick that ball around. Be playful, have fun, and approach it like you did when you were a kid!

My question to you is what makes your soul feel alive and how can you bring more of that into your holiday?

How you choose to respond to the basket case of emotions that the holidays bring will determine whether you will survive this holiday season or thrive this Christmas.

Like any change of pace, you can do nothing, keep the status quo, or ignore how you feel and maybe just hope to survive this Christmas.

But there is another way, and it’s making space for whatever wants to come through in you so that you can choose to respond in a way that feels nurturing, caring, and loving to yourself and to others, so you can actually thrive this holiday season.

So with this in mind, I want to wish you all the best for the festive season and will looking forward to connecting in the new year.

Mariam x

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