Are you ready for Christmas?
Every year the Christmas stress creeps up and gets me, no matter how hard I try to avoid it, so I have to take a deep breath and get things back in perspective. Stress, as previously mentioned is mainly generated internally – a lot comes from personal expectations on ourselves and others, as well as our reaction to others’ expectations put on ourselves.
I make no apology for writing about this again. It is very important and is something that we can all do something about. What are your personal expectations for Christmas? Will you be disappointed if there is no snow? Will your face drop if you do not get perfect gifts from others or the presents you asked for?
What will you expect from others? I dream of my family not squabbling, moaning or looking disappointed. I yearn for someone to take away the workload and the high expectations that they may have of the day. Is that too much to ask? Yes, it is. I have no control over their behaviour, only my own, and that is all I can focus on.
What is within our control is asserting ourselves in an adult fashion, detaching their behaviour from them as people, so that they can understand how we feel when they behave in a certain way, without it being a personal affront on them. This can be summed up in words similar to “when you […do a, b, c]…it makes me feel […x,y,z]”.
Some people cannot be approached in such a way, Christmas shoppers pushing and shoving, raucous behaviour from fellow diners in a restaurant or those who may potentially react badly towards you. You have a choice here, take yourself out of the situation or amend your personal expectations.
We have no control over other people’s expectations, even when they are directed at us. If you have done wrong, intended or not, you can apologise. If you haven’t given as much time, attention or effort in someone else’s eyes you have a choice to decide if you have done your best, in which case, you explain that; if not, you can agree to try and make up to them.
It may be that in spite of asserting yourself, you still find yourself building up those stressful feelings as you believe you are not living up to their expectations of you. In this case you are in the murky waters between your own personal expectations of yourself and their expectations of you. Where do you then draw the line?
Peace and Goodwill To All
You are only human and no-one has a right to expect too much of you and neither should you expect too much of yourself. A strong message to hold onto at Christmas is that of peace and goodwill to all. That means you too. Be kind to yourself, manage your expectations and refuse to take on others expectations on you that are unrealistic.
If you know in your heart that you have done your best, then that is good enough. Use the season to rest and recuperate, to spend time with family and friends. Ask yourself am I being good to myself?
So are you ready for Christmas? If you can shrug off the Christmas stress I’d say the answer is yes.