5 tips for having a happier Christmas

If you find Christmas to be a difficult time of year to cope with, you’re not alone; many people feel this way.  The perceived pressure to be ‘happy’ at this time of year can leave some people feeling quite the opposite.

But there are things you can do to get through the season as happily as possible. Here are my top 5 tips for having a happier Christmas;

happier christmas
Photo credit: Sharon McCutcheon, courtesy of Unsplash

1. Try not to idealise

Christmas is rarely the perfect time that everyone’s aiming for. Most people struggle with it not being anywhere near to the perfect time that is idealised on TV and in the media. 

Accept your Christmas for what it is and then make the best of it. 

Focus on the things you have to be grateful for; writing these out can be helpful and done regularly can help your brain to focus more on the positive and create happier feelings. See how to start a gratitude diary.

2. Focus on fun

Laughing or even smiling releases endorphins, which make us feel lighter and happier. 

Start to be aware of what you focus on, on a daily basis. Switch on the feel good stuff on TV and avoid anything that makes you feel negative or stressed. Spend time with people that you enjoy being with where possible. 

Dance and sing; even on your own it can make a difference to the way you feel.

3. When it comes to food, think longer-term

Enjoy the Christmas treats but if you’re wanting to maintain health and weight, eat consciously. 

Savour the flavour, the texture and the enjoyment you get.  Eat slowly and stop when the enjoyment stops. 

Consider how you’ll feel after you’ve eaten something. If you know it won’t make you feel good, maybe decide not to eat it. The guilt cycle makes you eat more and makes good decision making harder, so try not to step into the guilt cycle in the first place.

get outdoors this Christmas
Photo credit: Paul Green, courtesy of Unsplash

4. If you feel stressed or hemmed-in, get outdoors

Go out for a walk and if possible, get into nature.

If you can, try to go onto the beach, seafront or into the woods. Note what you see, hear and smell. Smile or acknowledge anyone you encounter. 

This will release endorphins and help you to de-stress.

5. Last but not least; be kind to yourself

If things at Christmas aren’t quite what you wanted, expected, or were aiming for; don’t beat yourself up.

Instead, be accepting that its okay for things to be different to what we wanted and hoped for. 

Notice any unkind self-talk and ignore it.  Or, if this is difficult, pop or squash the thoughts by saying “pop” every time the thought comes in or imagine it being in a bubble that you squash.

Don’t acknowledge or listen to these thoughts.  If you practice this enough, the unhelpful thoughts won’t come in so frequently. Say a reassuring affirmation in their place; maybe something like “I accept myself and the situation for how it is; everything is fine.”

It'll soon be a whole year until next Christmas

The hype and build up to Christmas might go on for months, but the actual event is over very quickly. 

So try to keep a healthy perspective and follow my 5 tips for a happier Christmas, and we’ll soon be in a brand New Year with brand new opportunities.

Wishing all my clients, past, present and future a joyful and relaxing Christmas and a positive and happy 2020.

And remember, if you want to take the new decade as an opportunity to say goodbye to any problems that are troubling you, Cognitive Hypnotherapy may well be able to help. Please get in touch for a chat if you’d like to talk about how it can help you.

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