Christmas is a period that can stir up emotions and feelings that may have been dormant for most of the year. Ensuring that we protect ourselves emotionally during the chaos and busyness of December is imperative – but how do we do it?
Here are 12 tips for ‘how to emotionally prepare for Christmas’: 1. Plan ahead. Make sure that when you have appointments or invitations, that you put them into your calendar immediately. If you need some flexibility, consider asking the other parent or book in a babysitter promptly. It will ease the last minute ‘finding someone to look after the children’ scramble. Don’t forget to plan events and activities for when you are with and without children. 1. Get your dates lined up. If you and the other parent offer each other flexibility with care arrangements or take the children when you have commitments, then make sure that you line up your dates with your ex-spouse. You might like to consider a shared calendar (there are lots of existing apps for you to download) 1. Acknowledge that it will be different. Understanding that life will not be exactly the same as it was in the past is the first step to emotionally and mentally preparing for the Christmas period. 1. Make the best of the situation. While nothing is ever perfect, understanding and accepting that there may be challenging times or situations helps in the moment. Finding the positives and good in every situation, no matter how tough or challenging it may feel at the time, will lighten your emotional load. 1. Compromise. With so much going on for you, your children and your ex-partner, Christmas is a period of compromise. Working together as a team for the benefit of the whole is the most important outcome. Compromise is about meeting in the middle, sometimes you will have to accommodate your ex-partners needs and other times your ex-partner will need to accommodate your needs. Equally, what is in the best interest of the children should be considered with great weight 1. Keep it real. Some people romanticise about the past – if you were great then you would still be together. Remember the past for what it was – there were good times and difficult times. 1. Be open to the good, bad and the numb. Any Christmas without your ex-spouse or your children may incite a roller-coaster of emotions. It is alright to be feeling up, down or somewhere in between. Ignore friends who judge you or say “you should be feeling…” Everyone is different, everyone processes feelings in different ways. 1. Express vulnerability. Speak of any concerns about Christmas to your closest friends and family. They may have a great suggestion for you or be a better support person for you during this time. 1. Schedule in some down-time so that you can invest in yourself and re-charge. Be sure to not become a recluse and hide away from the world. Many parents use their child-free time to juggle chores, complete additional work and catch up with friends. However, you need to make sure that in a busy period, you do have some schedule some time for peace, solitude and rest in the way that works for you. 1. Choose to be happy. Your attitude and outlook is your choice. No one and nothing can make you happy. You have to make a conscious choice for the attitude you will have to each situation – if you are having a difficult time shifting your attitude or outlook, consult a friend, GP or counsellor/psychologist for further assistance, advice or a lift! 1. Gratitude. Show gratitude, thanks and talk positives. The Law of Attraction supplies in abundance what you do, say and think. If you are continually negative, then you will be provided with an abundance of negativity. If you are open, grateful and positive, you will be overwhelmed with the same. 1. One moment at a time. As the old adage says “one day at a time.” Particularly at Christmas, you may need to break the day down to moments or periods, bite-sized-chunks. Plan how you can make your tasks enjoyable, plan your happy attitude as you complete each task and the positive feeling of achievement at the end of the task.
Allow yourself the space and time to be entertained balanced with time to enjoy some peace and relaxation throughout December will serve you well. Don’t forget to create the space to feel the emotions that you need to process in order to continue along your path of good health, positive wellbeing and achieve a sense of batteries for the new year.
If you find yourself struggling as you approach the Christmas festivities, seek some advice and assistance from your medical professional (doctor, General Practitioner) and mental health professional (counsellor, therapist, psychologist).