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6 Survival Tips For A Stress Free Christmas

How to cope with Christmas

Surviving Christmas Stress:

I love that quote …“Think you’re enlightened? Spend a week with your family!”

For many, family is the messiest part of life. People just won’t do what we want them to do will theyHow to cope with Christmas!

Christmas holidays often mean spending prolonged periods of time with people who can push your emotional buttons, so what’s your plan to survive Christmas and the strong opinions or personalities that can arise at this time?  Check out my tips below.

1. Meditation

The Christmas holidays are a perfect time to develop a regular mediation habit. Start with  5 minutes, building to 7 and then 10 minutes a day by week two.  Along with enormous health benefits, at this time of year meditation can offer you the perfect excuse to get away and give yourself some much needed time and space. Check out my other blogs or click here for simple meditation techniques.

2. Breathe To Alleviate Boredom

I remember someone telling me of their dread of the office party and the boring conversations they had to endure each year. If you get stuck with the office bore try practising a simple breathing technique whilst they’re talking to you. Keep looking at the person and subtly bring your awareness to your nostrils, silently count One on your next inbreath, two before you breathe out, three as you exhale and four before you breathe in again. When you’ve counted 5 ‘whole’ breaths in this way make your excuses ” well, it’s been great catching up and I want to talk to …. now, enjoy the rest of the party” and run!

3. Develop compassion.

If step 2 seems a bit harsh, maybe you can develop the art of active listening? You’re with the office bore again (except you no longer refer to them in such a way) imagine you can drop down into a very peaceful space within and begin listening with an open heart, i.e. with absolutely no expectations, no desire to escape and without a need to fix them, question them or judge anything they say. Good luck with that!

4. Boundaries. Where are yours?

What is your tolerance level for a particular person? So for example you don’t get along with your sister can you sit open-heartedly listening to her for 5 minutes or 10? What and where is your limit? It’s important to know yourself in this respect. Think about these interactions ahead of time.  Once you’ve reached your tolerance level with that particular person have  an “I need to get up and get some water” statement handy, so that you can change your position and your state. Plan ahead, is it possible to arrange to sit next to someone you do enjoy talking to?

5. Booze. Is it time to monitor your intake?

At what point might you say something you could regret? If two drinks leave you merry and sweet but four make you a bit mouthy…  perhaps you need a plan. Think ahead. How do you want to feel when you wake up after you’ve been out partying? When you look back over the previous evening’s events do you want to be happy with your ruminations or will you be cringing because of something you said or did?  Will that extra drink make the difference?  Plan ahead and decide when enough is enough. Before you go out think about an alternative to alcohol get a really clear picture of it in your mind, for example imagine a nice glass of sparkling tonic water with a shot of lime cordial and a twist of lemon, or a pot of freshly brewed coffee.

6. Kindness

Christmas is an especially good time to be thoughtful, kind and generous to others but I hear so often of people (usually women) who have run themselves ragged trying to make the perfect Christmas for others only to end up ‘coming down with something’. So be kind to yourself first, it’s then easier to give authentically to others.  Make time for you and as you give yourself a bit of space  ask yourself “what do I want, what do I need.” When your cup is full there’s a tendency to only want for the good of others and if you’re okay,  you’re in a better position to take care of others.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blogs, visit the site and purchase products I really value your feedback.

Wishing my family, friends, clients, yoga students and readers a great Christmas and all you would wish for yourself throughout 2019.

Remember if you know of anyone who might benefit, my shop is stocked full of hypnosis programs designed to boost confidencecounter stress, deal with anxiety, sleep problems and other issues. Psst! Pass it on please…

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Do you use your mind or does it use you?

Twenty Breath Challenge
The nature of the “ego mind” is such that it likes to be busy: busy with judgements, criticisms and comparisons. It likes to label people and situations; it loves to have an opinion. This part of our mind also enjoys re-running old memories, and rehearsing possible futures – sadly usually in the negative.

So take a moment and step back just for 5 minutes. Observe your mind at play. You will very likely notice that you’re thinking about the future – what you’re planning to do later on, what you might eat or drink, the friends you’re going to meet up with. Mentally, you are in the future, not the present.

And if you’re mentally in the future, that is where your energy is flowing.

Or maybe you’re trawling your past. Those times when you’re thinking about the comment your colleague made to you earlier – or when you re-run the conversation you had with your partner last night, last week or even 10 years ago – you are effectively leaking energy by being in the past.

But this incessant moving of the mind, from future to past, takes us away from the “now”. It fragments our energy.

In your 5 minute observation of the mind you might recognise some of these thoughts…

  • When the kids are at nursery, at school, at college then I will…
  • When I get that job, that car, that house, that boyfriend…
  • When I’m better, thinner, living there…

And maybe some of these demand thoughts are familiar…

  • I should be doing/having, by now be…
  • It’s not enough, it’s not right yet.

When we’re thinking in this way, what we’re really saying is, “right here, right now, this thing is not enough. Or I am not enough”.


Read that again and repeat “I AM ENOUGH”!

The crazy reality is, this is it!

This is what you’ve got right now and this is who you are at this moment in time. Constantly wanting something else or to be better or different can only bring unhappiness and dissatisfaction.

Acceptance of what is, is the key to feeling more peace and joy with yourself and your life. So how do we do that? How do we accept “what is”?

The answer is practise: practise being happy with what you have.

You’ve probably heard about developing an attitude of gratitude. You can do it right now. Stop and look around and just mentally label all the things you have in life to be grateful for. Your health, your home, your friends, a blue sky. Even the rain…


Abraham Lincoln said ‘You’re about as happy as you choose to be’. If you’re never in the moment, embracing who you are right now, what you have and where you are in your life at this particular time, then don’t kid yourself that it will all be okay when you arrive.

I’ve spent years working on my own personal development and coaching others to set goals in order to achieve their desired outcomes and I think it’s important to go for things that you want in life. So I would say, know what you want and set your goals. Then practise being here now. In order to cope with the harsh blows that life can deal us, we need strategies to ground ourselves in the moment.

I constantly coach students and clients to be present by staying connected to, and aware of, their breathing. Our breath is the most amazing guide and teacher to how we are. On average, based on 12 breaths per minute, we take approximately 17,280 breaths a day! We don’t even have to think about it. Breath breathes itself through us.

And how many of those breaths are we consciously aware of? 9,000, 2,000, 500? Nope! Probably not as many as 10!

So here’s my challenge to you:

For one week aim to be fully conscious of taking 20 complete breaths a day.

Breath in, pause, breath out, pause, that’s one breath. 20 a day.

Do it on the train, in the car, at the shops, walking down the road. Train yourself to be here now. Stop leaking energy into the past or future. Stop being a slave to where it wants to take you and make good use of your mind!

Main Image: Steve Harris