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Some tips about coping with Christmas from DisabilityPlus Counselling Services

Richard_Scope Posts: 3,660 Scope online community team

Some tips about coping with Christmas from DisabilityPlus Counselling Services

Christmas, even with people we love and who love us, can be an overwhelming flood of confusing cross-conversations, the unexpected irritation of well-intended but thoughtless comments about our disabilities, and simply too much of everything. Even if we aren’t openly treated poorly or like everyone’s irritating problem, high-stakes holiday events can easily cause us to worry about that happening.

That’s partial because, as hard as it may be for some to understand, family and friends aren’t always the most accepting and enlightened people in our lives.

Aunts and uncles may treat us like children, even when we are decades into adulthood. Cousins can make tasteless jokes. Even parents and grandparents might make passive-aggressive comments about our being too slow, difficult to accommodate, or in the way.

The more people are involved in holiday get-togethers, the more chance there is of these kinds of things happening. Some of us are well-equipped to roll with the punches, some less so. But all of us at least have in the back of our minds the possibility of awkward or even hostile moments cropping up in a social setting were containing and settling such conflicts is almost impossible.

Our tips to avoid feeling low and anxious - 12 Ideas for being more present over Christmas and in life generally.

By now, you’ve probably heard about the importance of mindfulness and living in the moment. Being present allows us to appreciate the little things in life instead of worrying about the struggles of tomorrow.

When life is moving too quickly, being present ensures we can still enjoy life fully. But what does being present mean? How exactly do we live in the moment?

For starters, being present means creating awareness. Whether internally or externally, it’s about paying attention to what’s going on without attempting to change anything.

The only problem is that staying present is a lot easier said than done. Implementing this change into your daily routine can be a huge struggle. To make mindfulness a little easier, I’ve put together a list of ideas for cultivating more awareness and presence in your daily life. That way, you can start to enjoy the little things in life even when things get hectic.

1. Celebrate the tiny joys - tiny joys remind me of what’s still beautiful in the world. Whether finding an extra pound in your purse, bumping into a friend, or getting to sleep in, celebrate the tiny joys as much as the big ones.

2. Identify the moment - take a moment to check in with yourself and identify the moment you’re in. You can do this by asking questions about your surroundings and your current

state. Ask yourself questions like: Where am I? What is around me? What noises do I hear? What can I physically feel around me? What do I smell? Who is around? How am I feeling? What am I grateful for right now?

3. Make mindfulness practice - whether it’s through meditation, or other types of mindfulness practice, carve out time in your day to intentionally be present. Mindfulness takes patience, energy, and dedication, so it’s important to practice it daily.

4. Listen without intending to respond - when you’re engaged in conversation, how often do you worry about what to say next? Often, we’re only half-listening to the other person because we’re constantly thinking about our own stories and what we can add to the conversation. Instead, try inviting more presence into your conversations and relationships simply by listening with curiosity rather than anticipation.

5. Be okay with not knowing all the answers - part of the reason we get so caught up in future worries is that we want all the answers to our problems immediately. We feel inadequate for not knowing how to handle certain situations, which only leads to self-criticism and self-doubt. The less you strain to find the answers, the more likely they are to come to you.

6. Listen to your body - It’s easy to start thinking that you need to eat a certain way or exercise for a certain amount of time every day because other people do it. One of the best ways that you can be present in your life is to listen to what your body tells you instead. Is it craving chocolate? Eat it. Do you want nothing more than to curl up in bed and forego the exercises today? Do it. Your body will let you know when it needs energy and rest.

7. Feel your feelings - If you’re prone to over-analysing and trying to change them, I encourage you to sit with your feelings and observe them instead of trying to change them. Let go of the mentality that certain feelings are bad and that you need to be positive all the time. Instead, let yourself feel.

8. Reduce distractions - most of us are never fully present because we continually get distracted. Our focus may be on one thing for a few moments, but suddenly another thought, request, or task comes up, and we’re onto the next thing. Identify your top distractions and develop a plan to avoid them.

9. Savour your rituals - we all have little rituals that we do daily. For me, it’s sipping a cup of tea in the afternoon (these are my favourite teas). It’s something that gives me a little bit of peace and quiet every single day. Try doing something slowly, in peace, without distraction, every day.

10. Find a balance between flowing and planning - When we plan out every single detail of our days, weeks, and months, we don’t allow ourselves the opportunity to go with the flow. While it’s important to plan, it’s also important to be flexible in how you handle your daily life.

11. Reflect on your day - Whether by journaling, writing a list of things you’re grateful for, or telling a loved one, it’s important to reflect on a few things that went well during your day. This encourages you to think positively (even if it was a terrible day), and it can help prevent the days from blurring into one another.

12. Get away from the digital world - You saw this one coming ;) Spend time away from your phone and computer every day.

Christmas is one day in the year, and when you get through it feeling happier than most other Christmases, you have had a great Christmas.

Finally, only spend what you can afford because most people don’t care what you give them.

Specialist Information Officer and Cerebral Palsy Programme Lead

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