Here’s to presence rather than presents

While most people appear to be whizzing around trying to make a dent in their Christmas shopping list, I’ve been reading about the psychology of Christmas.

Start digging and you’ll find lots of studies showing that lower emotional wellbeing is common at Christmas.

When did society declare that Christmas should become so stressful?


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Considering it’s meant to be ‘the most wonderful time of the year’, it certainly has its trying moments, doesn’t it?

Perhaps this is a good time to remember that presence is more important than presents. By that I mean, choosing to spend time with those you cherish and really being mindful to be in the room.
Not thinking about how much you have to do, or which presents you haven’t bought yet but really enjoying moments of quality time.

This is so much more important than dragging yourself to every single social outing just because you feel you should or spending far too much on gifts you can’t really afford.

If you switch on the TV, ads will pretend that everyone else is playing happy families and filling the fridge with enough food to feed 5000. It’s all so over the top and unrealistic.

In reality, it’s a tough time of year for many.

It’s a time when feelings of nostalgia and isolation can be overwhelming. Many feel lonely at Christmas and it’s important to remember that not everyone will spend it surrounded by family they love. There are alienated parents right across the country (and the world) that will be carrying a heavy sense of loss at this time of year especially.

So, this is a really important time of year for self-care.

Setting boundaries is crucial and saying ‘no’ is essential.

It is perfectly wise to make time for yourself rather than cramming your diary full just for the sake of it.

Take time to do things you genuinely enjoy and make the time to feel grateful for what you do have.

Also, you don’t have to completely abandon your health because it’s Christmas, it’s perfectly acceptable to take care of yourself. Eating well and getting plenty of sleep will ensure you come out into the New Year without feeling like a shadow of your former self.

Importantly, don’t fall for the hype and don’t get overwhelmed – keep this Christmas in perspective!