Silly season or stressful season? Whatever Christmas means to you, we all feel the pressure to be on our A-Game, armed with an arsenal of the years’ achievements (and hopefully enough bubbles to sit through another of Uncle Ralph’s ridiculous rants).
Murray Altham knows the one thing you can’t outsource is your own wellbeing. With “more years behind than ahead”, he places looking after himself at the top of his Christmas wish-list, and so should you! Here are our top five takeaways from his workshop on surviving the festive season in style:
Use the simulator
Ever wished you could predict the future? While it may be impossible to foresee the outcome of your office party, or whether Christmas Day will go as planned, you can use the simulator technique to test-drive tricky situations and make sure you put your best foot forward. You can apply this technique to every aspect of your life, in both personal and professional contexts. Remember, actions follow thought, so take the time to stop and think before you speak (or dirty dance on the tables with Jim from Accounts).
Thank your body for being awesome
Tis the season for indulgence – and the one that often leaves us feeling fa-la-la-la-flabby after uttering ‘just one more [insert edible vice here]’ more times then you care to admit. What follows come January 1 is all too familiar, and we all know tears of guilt just don’t cut it as a salad dressing. But you know what? Your body is amazing. Your cells regenerate at an insane rate every night. Your feet keep you upright even when your mind has given up. Your heart is still beating, despite the probable arterial strain from dunking an entire pack of Monte Carlos in a single cup of tea, and that is something worth celebrating. Instead of dishing out piles of self-loathing, serve yourself an extra helping of self-love this year. And go on, have another Tim Tam.
‘There you are’ not ‘Here I am’
Nothing like a bit of passive-aggressive competition to keep things interesting over Christmas Lunch. Yes, Sally, we know your only child is a superstar. Stellar grades, going to Nationals for hockey, netball and calisthenics, and still manages to spend every other weekend sitting in on Nana’s sewing circle. We. Get. It. You are an amazing mother, and your kid is a (very talented) over-achiever who will no doubt crack soon under the pressure you heap upon her. We all feel the need to rattle off our accolades, but this can be so exhausting, especially if your year hasn’t been much to write home about (which, by the way, is just fine). The unspoken rivalry between siblings, ex-spouses, cousins and even our past selves can make Christmas that much more stressful. This year, take a different approach. Instead of thinking ‘Here I am’, try ‘There you are.’ Your family may drive you crazy, but rather than compete over who had the most successful year, take a step back and admire the achievements of others for a change. You might find yourself appreciating Sally in a way you never thought you could.
Give up your need to be right
This one can be very tricky, especially when you know Uncle Ralph’s opinions on marriage equality are fundamentally wrong. But rather than bring down the mood at the table (you know how teary Angela can get after a single shandy), sometimes it is wiser to swallow your pride, and simply let it slide. Pro tip: Never disagree – instead, try saying ‘that’s one way of looking at it,’ or even a pleasant ‘OK.’ The festive season is about coming together. Leave the political debates for Question Time.
Take the time to rejuvenate
Less burn-outs, more BBQ-offs. If you suffer from Burnt Chop Syndrome, and often find putting others first leaves you at the bottom of the tree, the Festive Season can leave you feeling more drained than Aunt Marg’s brandy sauce. Don’t feel like you have to play a role. If you don’t want to do presents this year, don’t do them. Focus instead on being present. When you feel great, everyone around you benefits, so make sure you remember to look after yourself, and take the time to recharge over the holidays.
Follow these fool-proof tips from Murray Altham to survive (and thrive) in the weeks to come.
From all of us here at Event Associates, have a safe and merry Christmas!