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Not surprisingly, the subject of Christmas – AHHHH!!! – has been coming up with patients over the last few weeks and we thought it was about time to suggest a NEW, LESS STRESSFUL approach. 
 
Even though you probably don’t want to be reminded of it (!) let’s start with a quick reminder of the traditional recipe for Christmas: 
 
 
First, put on your rose tinted spectacles to enjoy a fairy tale picture of how you think – or are told (!) – Christmas should be. 
 
Add a large helping of Christmas traditions, even though no one can remember where on earth they came from or why you still do them (!). “We’ve always done it this way.” 
 
Stir in a resentment or two. Or, for added excitement, a family feud. 
 
Top up with industrial quantities of Christmas cheer. Food. Booze. Oh and don’t forget the chocolate and sugar to keep blood sugar levels sky high and the younger members of the family completely hyper. 
 
Simmer in a hot room for several hours. Then stand back or, even better, leave the vicinity completely before the fireworks start. 
 
With all these ingredients, is it any wonder that Christmas goodwill and cheer is so thin on the ground? The surprising thing is how quickly we forget all about it and then replay exactly the same scenario the next year. Probably with a few more resentments thrown in for good measure. And so it goes on. Ad infinitum. 
 
So how about trying a new recipe this year? And, dare we say it, is more realistic. And “no” we don’t mean one that starts with putting on a hard hat… 
 
First, ditch those rose tinted spectacles. Even better, crush them underfoot. After all, they’re highly over rated. And not really your style either. 
 
Don’t even attempt to make it “perfect”. Whatever that is. While you may not like to hear it, life just isn’t perfect. 
 
And, for your own sanity, ignore the papers and TV. Or trying to keep up with the Jones’. 
 
Take a long hard look at all those Christmas traditions. Ask yourself whether they actually make Christmas more enjoyable? 
 
What’s the point of doing mountains of brussel sprouts if not one eats them? Do you really need all those nibbles / six different puddings / a full afternoon tea / fill in the blank
 
If you don’t feel happy thinking about them now, then they’re not going to hit the spot on the day. Be ruthless, you’ll feel much better for it. So will everyone else. 
 
Let those resentments go. If you have little in common with your relatives for the rest of the year, expecting everyone to be best friends on the day isn’t realistic. Particularly when industrial amounts of food and alcohol are involved. 
 
We mentioned the “a” word a couple of weeks ago. Radical, we know, but it really does make a huge amount of difference IF YOU DO IT. 
 
Accepting that Great Uncle John is going to get tiddly / Grandma Flo will forget her teeth / the younger members of the family will get fractious and bored / fill in the blank takes a huge amount of pressure off. 
 
Acceptance doesn’t mean you have to like whatever happens. It just keeps you gloriously neutral, sat in the audience watching events enfold around you. And, you never know, you may end up understanding those around you a lot better in the process… 
 
Christmas is a great time to get the hang of acceptance, it really is. And think how expert you’ll be by the time New Year comes (!). Not to mention calmer and less frazzled. 
 
Cut down on the amount of food and booze. Do you really need enough to keep a small army of people fed and inebriated for several days? It’s estimated that over 50% of the food and drink bought for Christmas and New Year gets thrown away. It makes no sense, whichever way you look at it, so ask yourself whether that enormous pre Christmas shop is really needed. 
 
And, finally, make time for the traditional Christmas walk. Exercise, fresh air and a little space can make a huge difference to what happens later in the day. Trust us. 
 
If you feel that you need a little extra help off the shelf our old friend, Rescue Remedy, is brilliant. Vogel’s Passiflora and Avena Sativa tinctures can also provide some ongoing support too. And don’t forget our personal favourite, Triple A. Just give us a call and we’ll sort out a supply for you. 
 
So what’s it to be? A new recipe for Christmas – or a repeat of previous years with stress levels off the scale. And, possibly, blood on the ceiling?!? 
 
As always, the choice is yours. 
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