Are your emotions prepared for Christmas?
As Christmas approaches we are all busy creating lists, organising social events, thinking about decorations, presents and the lunchtime extravaganza.
As all these preparations get into full swing we use all our practical skills to navigate this holiday season, but do we stop and think about our emotions and the toll it has?
Do we prepare our emotions for this rollercoaster of events as we strap ourselves in for the bumpy ride of celebrations, only to pick up the pieces once it's all over in the New Year?
The emotional cost of Christmas can sometimes be more damaging than the dent it has on our wallets, however the financial strain can also bring another level of stress into our lives, including:
- the pressure of what gifts are acceptable
- the emotional triggers that cause stress in dealing with family members
- the pressure of keeping festive feelings alive rather than getting drawn in to the family differences which crop up year after year
- feeling exhausted but need to put on a show to create a great Christmas for the family
- the pressure and strain of how much Christmas costs.
So how can we survive and protect our emotions this season?
1. Understand your pressure points
Identify topics that you know create tension within you and which family members draw you in, increasing your stress levels. Perhaps reflect on how you can deal with these situations to avoid them escalating and how you would like to react differently.
2. Identify the impact it has on you
Identify how you may react when these topics and situations arise. Do you feel angry or anxious? Do you tend to withdraw or feel hurt and upset? Do you feel your blood boiling and want to lose your temper, or do you become less organised and more flustered?
What things can you put in place to help elevate these situations and emotions? Is there a different way to react? Do you need to react or is this something that can be addressed away for the festivities?
3. Identify what's really going on
Can you identify whether it's the actual situation that is affecting you or is it an emotional trigger? Writing in a journal can help obtain clarity and regain balance. Focus on what emotions you felt each day, what caused that emotion, how did you react, could you have reacted differently?
Gifts for work colleagues, decorations, presents for the family, maybe something for yourself, the mountain of food – it is all to easy to let your finances get out of control. How can you keep this under control? Think about having a budget for each area, having a limit of what you spend on the family can result in fun and creativity. Always have a food planner detailing what you are going to serve and when, as this will help you create your shopping list and stop those impulsive buys. If you do overspend, think about a financial overhaul in the New Year to ensure you minimise the damage throughout 2016.
If you would like to work on becoming more aware of how your emotions affect your day-to-day life, focus on a journal and start to reflect on how you react in different situations. This will allow you to build your awareness of which emotional triggers are caused by which situations. By understanding the circumstances and feelings that trigger the behaviour, you will be able to challenge yourself to change.
If you enjoyed this article please share it with friends and colleagues on social media or please comment below on how a journal has helped you.
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About Jo Rayner
Jo has been involved in coaching for over 20 years and her passion in life has been to help individuals and businesses to fulfil their potential, either in their life, career, health, finances or business development. Jo has a diploma in Life Coaching with the UK College of Personal Development and is a member of the Association for Coaching.