DECEMBER SUCKS: Top Tips For Surviving The Silly SeasonDec 16, 2022
The holidays can be… well… hard.
As much as we’d love to frolic in the snow wearing matching Christmas jumpers (UK) or laugh until our sides hurt as we play backyard cricket by the barbie (Oz) the reality can be very different.
Here are some of my top tips for getting through the festive period.
For my Burn Out Sisters!
Guess what. You don’t need to do it all and you certainly don’t need to do it before December 23rd.
Write 2 lists (if Santa can do it, so can you).
List 1 - write down everything that feels urgent. This will be stuff you need to DO. Glazing the ham, decorating the mantle, dusting the skirting boards, finishing a report that no one is going to read…
List 2 - write down everything that is important. This is what truly matters to you. Being present with your kids, spending some much needed time with your partner, laughing with friends, your health…
Now go back to list 1 and scribble out all the things that you thought you needed to do but don’t actually directly support the things that are important to you.
Know this! The end of the year is followed by another year. Nothing changes magically on Jan 1st. If you’re burnt out now, you’ll continue to be burnt out in 2023. So, what needs to change?
Some great journaling prompts would be…
- Why do I take on more than I need to? What underpins this for me?
- What am I trying to prove and to whom?
- If it was okay to be imperfect, what would I stop doing?
- What am I trying to control that is not mine to control?
- What can I delegate and what can I simply stop doing?
- What boundaries do I need to put in place with myself and with others?
- What’s really important to me?
For my Single Sisters!
This time of year can be tough. Relatives asking with sympathetic tones if you’re seeing anyone, your ex and their new partner wearing matching Christmas jumpers on Insta (block them already babe!) and the general aloneness that intensifies at this time of year. I get it.
You are not alone. Us singles are on the rise. You are not unloveable, unworthy or unattractive. You have standards and your worth is not defined by your relationship status. You are strong, capable, beautiful and fabulous. And you haven’t met all the people who are going to love you yet. How wonderful!
Uncle Terry is a douche. It’s none of Aunt Claire’s business. Your Mum’s desire for grandchildren is not your problem. Your sister’s definition of happiness doesn’t need to be yours.
There is nothing to be pitied.
So you walk into that family gathering like a confident human who is making the most of this precious time alone and at midnight on NYE, you high five all your angels and remember that your relationship with youself is the most important one in the world. Pep talk over!
Things to do as a single at this time of year - a checklist
- Eat too much food and then let alllllllll the farts out in bed without worrying about offending anyone lying next to you
- Watch the Christmas movies that you want to watch and share your mince pies with no one
- Dress up for you. Take yourself on a date a carol concert and embarrass no one with your loud and off-key singing
- Set some firm boundaries with family members. It looks like this…
Step 1 - State what is okay
Step 2 - State what’s not okay and why
Step 3 - State the consequence
“Mum, of course you’re interested in my love life and I love that care so much about me (that’s step one). But it’s not okay that you and the rest of the family ask me about it and refer to it all of the time because it makes me feel like there’s something wrong with me when there’s not (that’s step two). I’d love to come and spend the holidays with everyone but only if I’m not asked about my love life. If you don’t think you can do that, let me know now so I can make other arrangements. My preference is to be with you because I love you (step 3).”
- Make plans. This is YOU time so make the most of it. Don’t sit at home stalking your ex or swiping on Tinder. Go out and live your very best single life.
For my Expectation Sisters!
All disappointment comes from too high an expectation. Life is imperfect. Humans are fallible. So let’s get real.
Expectations - self to self - Ask yourself, what you are expecting of yourself over the holidays. Are you expecting yourself to be super-Mum, the perfect host, Nigella Lawson, calm and collected at all times around your family who trigger the crap out of you…? Let’s throw some realism on the page… you are human. Act accordingly.
Expectations - others to self - Ask yourself, what are you expecting from others… of your kids' reactions to their gifts, of your partner, of your MIL when she visits… And then cross out all the things you can’t control.
The next step is to communicate to these people your expectations. Assert boundaries with your MIL (see boundary example above). Tell your partner what you need from them. Prep your kids for how to communicate disappointment if they don’t get what they want and gratitude if they do. We can’t expect people to read our minds so voice your expectations which leads me to…
Expectations - self to others - If we have expectations of others, it’s only fair that they’ll have expectations too. Have a family meeting. What is everyone expecting of the holidays? Often disappointment happens when different people want different things and no one leaves feeling like their needs and wants were met.
Some discussion prompts/things to think about:
- Is there anything specific you would like to experience from our family gathering / this NYE party?
- Is there anything you need from me to make this day special?
- Is there anything you need from me that will help you manage my Mum (for example)?
- This is what I need from you to feel safe and connected.
- What is the best way for us to communicate with each other if one of us needs time out?
- How much screen time do we all get (adults and kids)?
- What activities (games, walks, music, Christmas movies etc) do we all want to experience?
- When you say you want your bestie to pop in, does that mean for an hour or are they staying for dinner or all night?
You get the idea! Communication is key!
For my Grieving Sisters!
Where there is love, there is grief. And the holidays can be a really hard time. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss my Mum but her absence is especially palpable at Christmas.
I don’t know much, but I do offer you this.
- It’s okay to take some space to go off and cry.
- All feelings are transient. The wave will break. It will feel better.
- Sometimes talking about them helps. I find sharing memories of Mum keeps her alive in me. Don’t be afraid to talk about them. Or even speak to them. I talk to Mum more now she’s dead than I ever did when she was alive!
- You can have a fun filled, connected and wonderful holiday season and still be really sad. Humans have the ability to have 2 opposing emotions simultaneously. It’s trippy, and it’s normal.
- You are allowed your emotions.
I trust this has helped.
If there’s another Sister category you want to me unpack, just let me know!
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