How to Survive Christmas

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The snow is falling outside; the Santa Parade is over; every single store is full of festive lights and festive music. There is no doubt that Christmas is almost upon us.

For some, it’s the most beautiful time of the year; for some, it’s the hardest. For many different reasons, of course. It doesn’t really matter what group you belong to, you will get tired and stressed out anyway, barely being able to make it to December 25. The one and only day of the year you have been waiting for for so long.

I often wonder, why? Why do we tend to make even the most enjoyable activities – giving, spending the time with the family, cooking for the loved ones – full of misery, frustration, and anxiety?

What went wrong and when?

Possibly, the simple fact that Christmas falls at the end of the year makes it more difficult than other holidays. The end of the year is usually busy and frustrating no matter what: busy with the end of the year work reports, with the plans for the next one to come; busy with calculating the end of the year budget and seeing the shortfalls.

And there are, of course, the expectations and hopes. The hopes that this year Christmas will be the best one ever, that we get the excellent present, give the excellent presents, have the “most wonderful time of the year”.  Quite often, however, this is not what happens.

Sometimes my clients ask me: “how do I know, that the decision I am making is the right one?”. My answer always is: “think what is important to you in life, what your values are. If your decision is in sync with your values it is the right one.”

So, going back to Christmas. How to make the most out of it?

Think what is important to you in your life, really important, and follow it. If the connection and spending time with people you love are important, don’t waste the endless hours in malls hunting for the latest model of… whatever it is and listening to “Rudolf the rednose reindeer” for hundreds of times. Make your connection the priority and plan the nicest day together.

If having a great time and relaxing is important, start doing it now, don’t leave it until December 25.

If you feel lonely, miss terribly other people at Christmas and don’t like it, reach out and connect with others, who don’t know what to do either. There are plenty of them in every corner of this world, just look.

And most of all, don’t let others tell you how your perfect Christmas should look like. The “perfect Christmas” on TV commercial may have nothing to do with who you are and what you value. Only you know, what would make it perfect. Think what is really important to you in life and let it guide you. Put your values first and ask them to point you in the right direction. With your values as a guiding force, you can never go wrong.

Eva is a co-founder of Discover Counselling located in Squamish, British Columbia. She helps her clients to overcome self- limiting beliefs that prevent them from having a satisfying and meaningful life. She also works together with her husband of 40 years, Josef. They use a unique couple-working-with-couple method in relationship therapy.
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