Christmas is a beautiful time, but my god it can be a challenge. We’re thrown out of our routine, and we’re expected to be happy, loving and relaxed for all our family members. But if you’re a sensitive empath like me, it can be really challenging to keep a smile on your face. The good thing is though, there are tried and tested steps to take to deal with challenging loved ones over Christmas, and they’re pretty simple.
For more support take a look at Mental Health Navigator, which is a free service available to all Accuro members with Specialist cover.
We all know the saying, ‘you cannot pour from an empty cup’. So don’t try, or there won’t even be a cup left! When you take time to replenish and nourish yourself, you can better serve those around you. Without that time or effort on yourself, you’ll end up aggravated, frustrated and exhausted by your challenging loved ones, even your most treasured.
Below are some straightforward ways to keep your head straight this Christmas when you’re being tested… choose one or all of them and you’ll find that balance and calm in an instant.
When you wake up, take three breaths. Inhale and exhale to equal counts. Slow down that nervous system from the get-go and create a space of calm and control for the entire day. Or when things start to feel a little tense and you can feel the frustration rising over a challenging loved one, take a few long beautiful breaths to calm everything back down again so you can act with intention and not reaction.
Jump onto a YouTube free yoga session or just throw out any yoga poses you know – whether it’s five minutes or 55 minutes, every little helps to keep a steady and relaxed brain.
Exercise when you can – just move and shake off all the stagnation! It can be a jog around the house, down the road or a quick core session in your bedroom. Just move and shake off the nervous, anxious tension when it starts to build.
Meditate or Mindfulness
Before the day starts or before the day ends, spend two minutes telling yourself you’re amazing and you’re capable. Take some nice deep breaths, remind yourself of all your positive qualities, and keep that positivity going throughout. When our brain is engaged in progression and positivity, we’re better able to manage our emotions and remain steady when learning how to deal with challenging loved ones over Christmas.
Take time for yourself
You can do all these things with people, but make sure you give yourself some time by yourself. Whether it’s getting ready in the morning, in the shower or making food, ensure you have some time to recuperate. Be mindful of what you’re doing and prep your brain to only see good in the day by practicing gratitude – say thank you for all that is already good, and all the good that is to come.
Whilst managing yourself and your own emotions is one thing, I know it can still feel mega difficult when you have to deal with a challenging loved one over Christmas. You could feel calm as a cucumber but still want to prove someone wrong when they’re pushing your buttons, which will only end up with hurt feelings and a likely argument.
So, there are a few steps to take when you just want to hit someone round the head but decide it’s best to keep the peace instead…
Let’s say your in-law has a completely different view on religion than you, and it winds you up something rotten. They make their point, again and again, and all you want to do is show them why and how they’re wrong. Before you jump in to change your in-laws' belief (which by the way is incredibly hard to do and impossible in only a conversation), try and understand their point of view. You don’t have to adopt their belief, or even understand the points they’re making, but it helps to understand where they might be coming from. Maybe your in-law has had bad experiences in the past that have impacted their opinion. Maybe they’ve been persuaded by another family member over time, and have decided to take on that opinion to keep the peace in their own world. You can never know why, but try to understand them in some way.
Show yourself and others compassion. The simplest and easiest way to do this, especially when you’re feeling challenged by someone, is to send them love. Wish them well using the following phrases.
May you have happiness.
May you be free from suffering.
May you experience joy and ease.
Finally, and this is the most ‘woo-woo’ of all these steps, put up a wall. Imagine a glass box, a silver veil, a bubble around you – whatever you like. In the morning, build your block around you and feel its’ protection. See it as an invisible barrier to keep your energy to yourself, and others’ energy to themselves. It helps us to stop taking on other people's stress and aggravation, and instead keeps us calm within our own calm energy (of course, after trying the five steps above…!).
The steps are simple but massively effective if they’re practiced. You have the ability to feel happy, calm and loving especially when learning how to deal with challenging loved ones over Christmas. Do these often to keep the negative feelings at bay, and use them as a toolkit when things get too much.
Accuro cares about you and your family's health and wellbeing - and that’s why we are excited to introduce you to the new Accuro Health Hub.
In another New Zealand first, specialist not-for-profit health insurer Accuro has launched a free wellbeing programme to all of its 30,000 members. The Accuro Health Hub gives each member access to support, information and resources to improve their health.