Christmas is a time of the year to come together and celebrate. Christmas usually conjures up images of family, fun, love and generosity. However, it can also bring with it pressure, stress, arguments and loneliness. These things usually occur due to unrealistic expectations, either our own or someone else’s.
Situations where you believe that something will turn out a particular way or a person will behave in a particular way can be hard to reconcile if things play out differently. Think about what your expectations are of yourself, the situation or others and make sure they are realistic. Be willing to just go with the flow if things change, because holding on to those expectations could leave you feeling disappointed.
Be clear about what you can actually achieve, both financially and through managing others’ expectations. It’s okay to say no, and/or be clear about your limits. Ensure responsibilities are shared and carried fairly.
At this time of the year, it is important that you continue to do those things that attend to your self-care. This might include ensuring you get a good night’s sleep and keeping up with exercise, even if it’s only just getting out for a walk. At this time of year it can be easy to over indulge with alcohol and/or foods high in sugar. Try to remember to keep these to a minimum, particularly if you are feeling stressed, as they put additional pressure on your body to process it all.
Loneliness and grief
It might be the first year that a loved one is no longer present. This could be due to the death of a loved one, a family separation or a number of other scenarios that separate families and friends. If this is true for you, reach out and let people know you are struggling.
It’s such an exciting time for children. However, given the increase in temperature and having had a long year at school, kids are generally tired and this can make them grouchy and less able to manage big feelings. This is especially true around Christmas and Christmas Day, with later nights, excitement, lots of sugar and picking up on their parents’ stress around the holiday period. Try to reduce sugary foods and drinks, create some quiet downtime when you have the opportunity, play some softer Christmas carols, read some stories and generally ensure some connection with your children to help soothe their little systems.
Most of all, take care and have a safe and Merry Christmas from the Homebuilders Family Services Team.
Please note, the Homebuilders Family Services office will be open until noon on December 24. The office will then close and reopen on January 13. Phone messages will be checked regularly for urgent enquiries. Phone 425 7048.
Suzanne Stewart, Family Support Worker