12 Christmas mindset tips
Here are 12 essential mindset must-haves – to help you create a more enjoyable and less stressful Christmas!
- Define what Christmas you want for you! And align your choices, thoughts, behaviours, mindset and actions around that. Last year, I have chose to have a “mindful, easy and magical” Christmas. This year my intention is to have a “magical, relaxed and homely” Christmas. Each day in the run up to Christmas, I ask “Is what I’m doing / not doing taking me towards or away from that Christmas?!” I’m focused on what I want and what’s important to me. What I have the time, money and energy for. And let everybody else do whatever they want at Christmas. Because we all want and need different things!
- Don’t compare your Christmas to other people’s Christmases! – Comparing what you’re doing to others is a sure way to zap feeling good this time of year. As a generation we see SO much more of what people do in their lives, there is more pressure than ever before to “keep up” or “do more”, but most of that pressure is self-inflicted! Ground yourself and stop looking at what others are doing if it makes you feel bad.
- Remember you are only seeing someone’s front of house not back of house and no one knows your back of house – Linking to point 2, when we compare to others, we compare our back of house, to someone else’s front of house. We see images on social media, we might over hear conversations, but then what we do is fill in the blanks and completely make up in our head the rest of their story – that’s why people end up feeling bad. Most people don’t compare like for like either – remember we are all different with different values, in different circumstances and different wishes and needs. You don’t ever really know how others are feeling behind the scenes either, ask yourself is what I’m assuming fact or fiction?
- Make peace with and/or give yourself permission to have your kind of Christmas without guilt or envy. For me, Christmas is all about decorations, Christmas music, Christmas films and delicious food. I go all out on the decorations and have 7 Christmas trees – it makes me happy and brings me so much joy. Last year I did a surprise Christmas Day treasure hunt in the garden in the afternoon and created incredible Christmas sharing platters. I was by myself with my 3 children last year as my parents were travelling abroad and all my friends away. So I didn’t do Christmas dinner on Christmas day as it’s too much, we did sharing platters in the day and then a 5 ingredient Jamie Oliver meal once my youngest was asleep! And as I put all my focus and money on decorations and little magical experiences, a lot of my daughter’s presents are second hand. When I told a client this who was struggling with money, she said she would never be able to do that as she would feel so bad. But I’m completely comfortable with my choices, because of my mindset and how I create my optimum Christmas for me!
- Be prepared for compromise, challenges and changes – As we all know from the last couple of years, nothing is certain and we are all susceptible for last minute changes and having to deal with less than ideal circumstances, restrictions or bad news that can stress you out. My big tip for you all on this is to have a positive plan B. Sheryl Sandberg said that “When plan A isn’t an option anymore, you have to simply thrash the hell out of plan B”! And remind yourself that we got through some crazy times and whilst the world is a little crazy right now, we can all think better and cope well; if we choose to do that!
- Lower your expectations without being negative – I love Christmas, but I honestly think this s is the ultimate Christmas mindset for everyone. We see the ‘perfect’ Christmas on the TV adverts and movies and can find ourselves with such high expectations. One of the ways I teach people to enjoy Christmas much more, is to lower the expectations of yourself and others without being miserable about it. When you set the bar lower, it lowers disappointment, and anything above that is a bonus of course. But high expectations and perfectionism can often mean people don’t feel good enough or get completely stressed at Christmas!
- Remember you can’t choose your family – Whether you have your own relatives you don’t enjoy seeing that much, parents-in-law that drive you mad, or you have to spend time or deal with ex partners for example, it’s important to recognise that you CAN choose how you respond to them (more on that in the next point!) and you’ll go mad trying to change things that are beyond your control. If you really struggle and it ruins your Christmas, don’t see them on Christmas Day! I’ve helped a few clients recently communicate to siblings and mother in laws that they want to have a quiet Christmas at home and will see them a couple of days afterwards. Whilst Christmas is for giving and family, YOU ALSO MATTER!
- If you have difficult relatives they are likely to press your buttons! – If you do decide to spend time with people that you zap you of energy and positivity, who drive you mad and know how to push your buttons, you’ll probably revert to the less than ideal / more difficult version of you. With siblings or parents, you can become the stroppy teenage child as a result (It happens without you realising it too!). With parents in laws, you can become defensive and agitated. My greatest tip is to change your behaviour and you’ll be more likely to change theirs. It will throw them a bit, they won’t expect it and they will be forced (unconsciously!) to adapt theirs. You cannot control how they behave but you CAN control how YOU do! And another tip is to think about brainstorming what they might say and then practicing a calm, empowering response, so it flows off your tongue effortlessly in the moment!
- Pick your battles – To keep the peace (whether with children, friends or those difficult relatives I mentioned above), remember that battling with others can be totally exhausting. Ask yourself what is your objective for the day / event / Christmas as a whole. And remind yourself that by picking your battles with everything, your Christmas can be so much harder. I had a client with a very difficult sister that was visiting from Canada a couple of years ago and she worked out that her objective was to get through Christmas without an argument and tension. She was wildly different to her sister. But by her making the decision to get through the festive period without an argument, she took control of letting things go in order to keep the peace and energy. She changed her behaviour, didn’t react like she usually did and whilst her sister drove her a little mad, because she took control of her own actions, Christmas was so much more enjoyable! Once she was gone, she could offload everything which was cathartic (and needed!) but she avoided a high conflict Christmas.
- Set your own boundaries and stick to them – Boundaries are crucial at Christmas. Whether it be financial, self-care, how many social events you go to, or how long you stay there for, what time you go to bed, what time you spend on technology. Take some time to think about your best Christmas boundaries! And remember they may not fit in with what others want – and that’s OK. Putting yourself first at Christmas and reminding yourself – that in a world where we can do anything, we don’t have to do everything – can literally change so much!
- Stay out of urgent mode – Get lists, get everything out of your head and get everything organised with a fresh head! Prioritise, simplify, work in advance, do tasks when you have higher energy so they don’t take as long and create little check lists for things. When you’re in urgent mode, you become stressed, you forget things, you get cranky, everything becomes rushed and pressured and it’s hard to be mindful. Once we’re in the start of December, I write lists for things I need to do in between Christmas and New Year, so I’m not waking up at night thinking about them and aren’t ruining my Christmas being in a panic. A little calm planning goes a long, long way!
- It’s not what you eat between Christmas and New Year that matters but what you eat between New Year and Christmas – I love indulging at Christmas, it’s my favourite thing to do! I love to gain a few pounds, over eat and get stuck in! But it’s guilt free and with pure pleasure! I do usually exercise everyday in the run up to Christmas, I eat lots of salads, vegetables and drink water around the cheese, bread and wine! And I still have a veg juice / smoothie every morning to balance things out. But I’m also a really mindful eater over Christmas time, eating my absolutely favourite things and eating them slowly and mindfully 🙂
Hope this is helpful! Remember stress and pressure is a choice and there are always better ways to do things and different ways to think that can change so much for us, especially this time of year!
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