Christmas is a wonderful time. It’s a magical time where children are offered the joy of fairies and elves visiting them, and a magical man, who spends one night, giving children all over the world gifts from his bottomless sack of toys. It’s a time for Christians to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. It’s a period for many religions to celebrate a variety of feasts and rituals.
It’s also a time of year that can be stress inducing as people do all the things they feel they should to be a good parent, daughter, husband, son, grandchild, employee, employer. There’s the pressure of the most creative Elf on a shelf shenanigans and being able to home bake your own Christmas cake or host the most fabulous party. The list goes on. It’s a time when it is easy to look around and see people doing everything in a bigger and better way than you and you start to feel lacking in some way as a consequence. You might hate that annoying little Elf and want to throw him out of the window. You might have the baking skills of a toddler and your decorating looks like you’ve had bandages on your fists during the whole process. You might not like socialising and yet feel you have to host like Nigella.
It’s a time which can make you feel not good enough, as you focus on what others are doing, spending and organising. Comparisonitis can be rife!
But fear not. I have 4 steps to keep you in your own lane, grateful for what you have got and how to gain clarity on how you are wanting to spend the festive period with who you want to spend it with. Read on .....
Christmas can be a time of great joy and happiness. It can bring out the best in people and bring people together. On the other hand, Christmas can feel very lonely. It can feel lonely if you aren’t in a relationship. It can feel lonely in a relationship, if you aren’t getting on, or if there is a disconnection in your relationship. It can feel lonely if you have lost someone close to you or if someone is ill.
I remember one Christmas in my late 20s when I was on the verge of a burnout. I had been with my partner (now husband) for about 6 years and I felt completely lonely. However, it wasn’t his fault. He was loving, kind, appreciative and I was keeping him at an emotional arm’s length.
‘Yes, I’m fine.’ I would say if he asked how I was. I’d say this even if I felt I was feeling hollow inside. I didn’t want to admit to him, or myself, how wretched I felt in the profession I had chosen to be in for the rest of my life!! (Or so I thought.) Christmas felt lonely. I wasn’t enjoying anyone’s company, not really. I was going through the motions and all I could think about, constantly, was the work I ‘should’ have been doing, in the moments when I wasn’t doing it. I felt a failure. I felt lonely. So, if you are having a hard time this Christmas and you are feeling lonely here’s what I have learned from the experience, coupled with a couple of coaching tools to help you take a step forward to connection.
Say, 'I am lonely.'
No blaming. No attacking. No shaming. Simple vulnerability. Chances are they are feeling it too. By stating it you open up the possibility of change; of reconnecting; of intimacy.
If you are not in a relationship (or you are and the loneliness comes from outside of the relationship) but have found a distance between you and your family/friends, find the one person you love and trust the most and do the same. State how you feel.
2. Ask yourself what you have been giving to the relationship?
Be honest with yourself. I felt lonely in my relationship, but I had created the chasm between us myself. I hadn’t allowed myself to communicate how I was feeling honestly with my partner or my friends. I felt a failure so I kept it in and distanced myself instead.
I wasn’t giving anything to the relationships around me and it was a vicious cycle of escaping into the very work that was making me feel lonely, despite being surrounded by people 24/7.So, how are you communicating? Who are you making connections with?
3. Gain a solution focused approach
Once you’ve been honest with yourself, it’s time to take responsibility for that which you can control?
Get solution focused questions that inspire action and manage expectations.
What will I do to connect with someone I love today?
Where can I find likeminded people who lift me up?
How can I enjoy a conversation with someone today?
What will I do to give the love of my life some joy today?
Who might be lonelier than I am and how can I help them?
You are not alone. There is always someone to connect with. Go and find them and make a life (not just a Christmas) filled with love.
If you want to gain a solution focused approach on a daily basis, and be surrounded by some of the most giving women I know, give yourself the gift of a monthly subscription to my sisterhood (You can cancel at any time so there is no risk). Click here to join
Do you have any tips you'd like to share in the comments?
I've woken up.
I've woken up to the fact that I've been spending half my life striving for happiness when the key to it was under my nose.
I've woken up to the fact that most people live in a fog.
I've woken up to the fact that as people we anaesthetise ourselves with overwork, shopping, drinking, drugs, food in the hope it will make us feel better, or make the week more bearable, or make us more worthy, or to 'enjoy' life more.
I've woken up to the fact that if we don't stop this and love who we are for what we are and what we have right this minute, then we'll never feel successful, enjoy our children, like the new car/shoes/house/dress for more than the moment we made the purchase.
The bottom line is this. Unless we nurture and love ourselves and know our true worth we will be continually chasing 'happiness' through instant gratification.
Acting daily to show our true selves will bring us an appreciation of ourselves. No shopping, drinking or overworking will be enough.
Don't get me wrong I love a great pair of shoes, I can work every hour god sends and I want a nice house, but if we don't enjoy who we are and love ourselves truly, these things will only make us happy for a moment and then we'll want the next thing.
Our culture encourages us to buy stuff, work ourselves into the ground to pay large mortgages, get hammered at the weekends to block out the week, eat our way to comfort. This is the norm. This is the fog. It's what we do for happiness.
Well not any more ladies.
I am on a mission, because there is another way.
Through my own coaching process and working with women like you, I have realised that the only way to true happiness, contentment in all things and accepting each day, no matter what it brings, is by BEING YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND.
It's simple. It's courageous, but it isn't easy.
We have a lifetime of references, limiting beliefs and life experiences that have us thinking negatively about ourselves, and situations that evolve in our lives. They hold us back from being content with ourselves and able to have the success we want. Success not defined by status, money and power, but by how it makes us feel about us. Once we are able to be our own best friend, then all the other things we hope and dream for will happen, because we will take action to do it knowing we are worth it. It will push the fear of being that real version of you away.
You are an amazing, unique, beautiful and powerful person but the fog and the daze you are walking around in is clouding your ability to know that and live it. You are living in fear of knowing that person and letting others know her. You know that all the clothes shopping, chocolate eating, car envy and alcohol inducing haze in the world won't make you happy in the long run. It will come from being your own best friend and loving you. Right now. Once you do this, magic will happen. You will be able to do great things. you will give to friends and family from a place of love, not duty. You will know when to say no and not feel guilty. You will know what you want in your life and how to go about getting it.
You will accomplish actions in an easy way, not a hard way.
You are your own best friend. You know what you are doing and why. If not, I will help you find out.
I have tools and strategies to support you to have an understanding of you that allows you to stop searching for external gratification to one of inner self love. It will shift your approach to having success on your terms so that you can stop striving and start thriving to achieve it.
If you want to wake up I have something to help you. (Click the highlighted text)
I've woken up. Have you?
Yes, that wonderful time of year that gets us all doing lots of things we don't want to and end up frazzled in a lump at the end of it. Bah humbug!
Why? Think about it.
I love Christmas. I really do. I love seeing lots of my friends and family. I love the music, parties, presents, lights and decorations. I love Father Christmas, watching kids unwrap toys. I love buying gifts for everyone I love and watching them open them. I love a beautiful Carol Concert and watching a nativity play. But about 2 years ago, I had a Christmas where it all felt too much. Too much shopping, too much cleaning up before and after all the parties, too many visitors, too little time for the children to enjoy their new gifts, just too much.
It made me think. What are we doing it for? Now, religious or not, Christmas is supposed to be a time of goodwill, peace, a celebration of giving, love for our fellow (wo)men. Well, that Christmas, it felt nothing of the sort. My friends and I often joke about how we feel like we've run a marathon after Christmas. All the preparation and expense can make even the most organised, seemly self contained person feel overwhelmed.
So, I want you to think what do you actually want out of this festive period? I worry that the 'mass consumption' ends up taking over the main event, which for me is about giving love to those around me.
This year, let's promise to apply some common sense and a dash of good coaching to all that we do for a great Christmas.
To start with why not get a metaphor that makes you go at the preparations in a positive state. Christmas is an oasis of calm with the ones you love. Christmas is a fabulous production to be shared with friends and family. Christmas is a gift for you to give to others. Whatever you start with in your mind, you'll get as a result. The year I told myself it was a marathon, it felt like a marathon. What's your metaphor going to be?
Next, it's your Christmas too. So make your needs matter in the planning of Christmas. Enlist help, don't control everything or you'll end up a martyr. (Guilty as charged!) make sure there is space for you to relax, as well as everyone else. I'm lucky in that our family rule is one person cooks, the other tidies up the mess, so all the work isn't on one person's shoulders. Is everyone sat watching the TV, listening to music, playing with their toys while you work like a dog? More fool you. Ask for help by saying you too want to join in and then you can all crack out the Monopoly, Charades, Wii, whatever rocks your world, instead of you missing out on the fun. A happy, less resentful you is much nicer to be around. Make the tasks play for the kids and they'll be happy to join in. Get some music on and dance tidy! Above all don't try to achieve perfect. It's one day and it's over in a flash. Like at a wedding, often the things that go a bit wrong are the most treasured memories. Since Life Coaching grabbed me, I'm a big believer in the 'perfection of imperfection.'
Enjoy the process. Live in the now. Instead of steaming round the shops in a daze and cleaning the house as if the Queen were about to arrive, stop. Think about what you are doing and why? Enjoy the moment of choosing a special gift. Feel the Christmas tree decorations as you place them on the branches of the tree, listen to Christmas songs as you do all the tasks and enjoy the flashing lights. Smell the gorgeous food and be thankful for everything you have in your life.
Ask yourself this. Who will you be spending time with? If you surround yourself with negative people at Christmas, it's likely to be a negative experience. I'm not suggesting you ditch the moaning uncle or the bitchy sister (These are examples, not real people in my life!), however, you deserve to have a positive Christmas filled with fun and laughter, so set the boundaries and organise to meet them on your terms so you can leave when you can feel they are starting to drain you of good energy.
No matter how much you have going on in your life right now; grief, money worries, relationship issues, problems with children, not able to have children, etc, you can find enjoyment and pleasure in the simplest thing right now. Someone lets you out at the busy junction on your way to the shops, the star at the top of the tree, a gift from a loved one, a smile from someone receiving your gift, the look on a childs' face on Christmas morning. Look around you. Enjoy getting to Christmas day by enjoying what you are doing right now.
If you are not enjoying what you are doing, ask yourself, why you are doing it then? Perhaps, it's time to stop?
Get organised and prioritise all the jobs you have to do right now.
1. Get a piece of paper and write down everything you need to do in the next two weeks.
2. Organise it into areas. E.g. Home, Work, Fitness, Study... whatever it might be.
3. Prioritise high, medium, low. Now look again. Which ones should you do and which ones do you choose to do because they will bring you the feeling of contentment or excitement you want? Can any of the should's go?
4. Ask yourself do you have to do the said task or could someone else do it with you or for you? If so, get the support or pass over the task. Job done.
For me Christmas is about giving and that can mean to those who have less than us or who are having a difficult time. Sit and think, is there someone you could reach out to this Christmas who might need a friendly face? Is there a charity you've been meaning to support, but not got round to it? Is there a homeless person you could buy a cup of tea and give a smile to, so they feel like they still exist? Is there an elderly person living in your street who doesn't seem to have any support, will you take them a card? It doesn't have to be a grand gesture but that small act of giving could be the greatest gift you give this Christmas and it might only cost you time.
For me Christmas is a great time. I have planned several big gatherings to see the people I love most in the world and give them hospitality, fun and love.
There will be many things on my to do list but at the top I will be writing:
Enjoy this time.
And if all else fails and you hit New Year feeling like an over cooked turkey, then come to my New Year Clearing Workshop and get your head straight. (click above)
How will you start your Christmas to do list? Let me know in the comments below.