The tempo is increasing, are you starting to feel the strain from all the ‘holiday’ stressors and pressures piling up on you? Here are three big potential stressors and how to overcome them with Mind Chi and glee!
Why not be Stress-free & full of Glee with Mind Chi?’
This week we can discover ways to reduce the sting, stress and pressure from three aspects: The cost; the food and the relations.
1. The COST Festive Holiday Horror and the Mind Chi way to overcome it
What it COSTS (especially THIS year!)
The pressure from the media to spend, spend, spent is relentless. Shops give ‘free’ credit (as long as you spend a certain amount and until Jan/Feb 2022 when a high interest rate cuts in).
There is the expectation from your friends, family and co-workers for gifts.
There is extra food and entertaining, and then what are you going to wear? On and on the costs go.
And your money is probably tighter than ever and has to go further than ever and many jobs feel precarious.
Do NOT let yourself be swept away with the buying frenzy.
It is even easier to over-spend on-line, where just a click here and there and then you are enticed to just add this and that – all painlessly placed on your credit card or PayPal and delivered to your door – no problem.
That is until you look at your bank balance.
You can probably add some more COST horrors as well. So, what to do?
Mind Chi Festive Holiday Happiness – STOP!
STOP! Yes! Just STOP right there, right now and THINK before you rush headlong into the frenzy of DOING and buying. A little time to take the reins of control NOW will give you MONTHS of happiness later. Well worthwhile.
Look at your FINANCIAL BIG PICTURE – that will mean a REAL look at your bank balance.
How much is in there? How long must it last? How much is already on your credit card(s)? When are you receiving your next pay cheque? Therefore, how much is the MAXIMUM you can spend?
IF you find you have some pennies to spare (or have saved for this occasion well done!) then MAKE A LIST of the MOST important people to buy for and the maximum to be spent on their gifts. THINK and RESEARCH options and best prices for those gifts.
This year everyone will understand if you say, ‘Might we agree to skip the gift giving this year?’
A gift for the person’s birthday – their special day – is more appropriate that the commercial holiday hype. A gift of some time or (don’t shudder) something you made gets you both off a hook neither of you can afford.
Now, we are not spoil-sports and you may ENJOY the holiday shopping frenzy, if so decide how much you can spend (this is on frivolous things, not the selected gifts) and take JUST that amount in CASH.
Put the cash somewhere very carefully where it can’t be snatched. Off you go to the shops and have yourself some fun!
STOP when the cash is gone. Forbid yourself to use your card (don’t even take it with you!)
And RESIST ‘If you take out a XXXX card, you’ll get 10% off all you have just bought’.
Do NOT take up any new credit cards offers.
To recap, the 8 positive actions for Mind Chi Holiday Happiness to overcome the Horror of the COST of the Holiday:
1. STOP! Think before you DO another thing.
2. Look at your FINANCIAL BIG PICTURE, how much can you actually afford to
3. Always make a LIST of the important gifts to buy. Keep to your list.
4. RESEARCH the options to find the best source for those gifts.
5. Suggest that you SKIP giving gifts this year – bet they’ll love you for it.
6. Only partake of the holiday shopping frenzy (if you do like it) with CASH you can
7. Never take out a new CREDIT CARD offered by a shop.
8. Consider a NON-MONITARY gift (time with the person next year; make or do
something for them; swap skills – a massage for a meal, etc.)
2. The FOOD Festive Holiday Horror and
the Mind Chi Happiness to overcome it
How much FOOD is about!
Today we address the issue of how much FOOD is ever present during the holidays.
Meals with family, meals with friends, office parties, friends’ parties, coffee and bun while shopping, fast food on the run and on and on it goes – ‘suddenly’ your jeans feel really tight!
All the well-meaning (or couldn’t be bothered) gifts of yet another box of chocolates or some other something usually with many calories, fats and preservatives sitting looking at you and each time you pass, it is so easy to just grab one (or two!)
All the lovingly made meals ‘Oh I’ve been cooking that for you all day – you MUST have a second helping!’ For many, to refuse the food they made for you is to refuse their ‘love’ and it is a personal affront.
Or you are doing the cooking and so there is a taste here and a double check there and you are actually FULL as you sit to eat and still manage to pour food into you until you are STUFFED!
Further because you are so busy, your exercise schedule (you DO have one?) gets messed up and as we all know, 500 extra calories a day (one hot chocolate from a well-known coffee shop) means an extra LARGER size is needed in a month – disaster!
You can probably add some more FOOD horrors as well. So, what to do?
Mind Chi Holiday Happiness – POWER
You have POWER! Repeat (even sing!) ‘I have the POWER!’ OK, so now what are you going to do with it? You may wish to plan ahead, how about using October & November to work DOWN a size, so if eating during the holidays is what you like, you could put some extra weight on without it being a problem.
PLAN your eating, if you know you have a dinner or party in the evening, eat lightly during the day and schedule a walk to balance out.
If it isn’t in your home, it is not so easy to eat, so DON’T BUY it! (All the junk foods and nibbles.)
Before you eat ANYTHING:
1. Do the Mind Chi Breath (step 1 – breathe in – hold – out and stay empty, each for 3 seconds) – just to make yourself eat MINDFULLY. ‘I am here, about to eat this…’
2. Check your Mind Chi BEAT (step 5 – Body, Emotions, Actions & Thoughts) and when you become aware of your BODY ask ‘How hungry am I?’ – starving? Peckish? Satisfied or stuffed? And then eat accordingly.
3. Become aware of your Emotional state. Are you eating because you feel stressed? Or lonely? Or afraid? Or anxious? Food will only ADD to the problem, not HELP it.
So do your BEAT before you put one morsel into your mouth.
Some other helpful hints:
Always take a SMALL PLATE – you can always go back if you really want / need to.
Eating out? Order a starter, or two instead of the main meal.
And cut the portions in half and push half away. After you have completed half do your B-BEAT to see if you want/need the other half.
Think: ‘If I see it and then eat it, soon I will be wearing it!” Just IMAGINE yourself with this extra burger stuck on your shoulder! Not a pretty sight!
Everywhere you look are advertisements and promotions to eat here and have this. Do not give your POWER to the media, hold onto it and make YOUR decisions about when and how much you will eat.
You do have the POWER – so KEEP it and USE it.
To recap, the 8 positive actions for Mind Chi Holiday Happiness to overcome the Horror of FOOD are:
1. Repeatedly sing the ‘I have the POWER!’ song to remind yourself!
2. Use your power to plan AHEAD and slim down BEFORE the holidays
3. BALANCE your eating – having a big dinner, eat less lunch and breakfast
4. DON’T BUY it and have it in your home – then you can’t eat it.
5. Do your Mind Chi B-BEAT every time BEFORE you eat ANYTHING
6. Use a SMALLER plate or eat just a starter
7. Eat only half of your portion, then check in to your B-BEAT
8. Remember how GOOD you feel (and look) when you are at your ‘fighting weight’
3. The RELATIONS Festive Holiday Horror and
the Mind Chi Happiness to overcome it
Dealing with all these RELATIONS / friends etc. (or NOT!)
One of the aspects of the Festive Holiday Horrors that can really make us cringe has to deal with the RELATIONS. To broaden this we will also include: ‘RELATIONS with… Office / neighbourhood / religious group and others’.
You may be in a situation where you really do not ‘like’ your relatives (you will not be alone) yet over the holidays there are the forced get togethers. You may feel ‘obliged’ to either be the host or the attendee at numerous potentially onerous gatherings.
This can add enormous strain on you (and them too!), the reaction to this is that you may eat and drink too much; just to help you get through it.
There are the ‘tug-of-wars’ – ‘You ate with them LAST year, now it’s our turn!’ The question is how to divide yourself between the in-laws and the out-laws. The ones that you are ‘obliged’ to see may be your least favourite.
Then there is the other side of the coin, those of you who do NOT have RELATIONS of any sort, either by choice or circumstance. Now people are asking, ‘What are you doing over the holidays?’ And you may have a painful ache that you are alone. Then you are afraid that they will feel sorry for you and think that they need to invite you. Very difficult!
You can probably add some more RELATIONS Festive Holiday Horrors as well. So, what to do?
Mind Chi Festive Holiday Happiness – SAY ‘NO!’ (Nicely!)
Take some time to reflect on what YOU really want. Sometimes of you remove the feeling that you MUST do this or that and think fresh about the person / action, you can decide that you actually, on balance, DO want to do it. Now it is on YOUR terms and it feels much better. You are taking positive action, rather than just robotically re-acting.
This may sound a bit morbid, but it provided a very valuable lesson to me; a friend’s father died and the friend was filled with remorse because he had always been ‘Too busy’ to have a coffee or chat with him and now he could not. Consider, if your person were to die soon, would you feel that you
had done all for / with them that YOU wish? If the answer is ‘Yes!’ then you have more freedom; if the answer is ‘No!’ then you may choose to make seeing them more important than something else.
Also there is often such a backlog of things all at once.
Do your best to group / manage and space them. Group several parties or visits together, this way you get dressed up once and can work out a route to see them. It also means you cannot stay TOO long as you are expected at the next one. PLEASE have a designated NON-drinker with you, so you may drive safely. Manage and space the gatherings by showing an example of having a ‘New Year in June’ party! Or an ‘After-holidays – bring your leftovers party!’ so you are not adding to the backlog.
Then look at all you have been invited to and prioritise them (using your criteria: e.g. most fun; best food; great dancing; interesting party; want to see their house; love the people; super venue etc.!!) Then look at how they are spaced on your calendar. Decide how many you can afford (time-wise; calorie-wise; drinks-wise; sanity-wise) and select the most important for you. Fit the others in as you feel is best, then speedily send your regrets to the others, so they know how to plan.
Have a conversation with the relatives / friends that are expecting time with you, if you are really stretched, in any way (time, money or emotions) be honest and ask for their help. How can they assist you to manage the pressure? Can you invite them / visit them a week / month later? Have an extendo-holiday and celebrate with them on that special occasion.
Whenever, for your own sanity and happiness you feel you need to say ‘No!’ please do it as nicely and considerately as you are able. Asking for assistance and offering to make it easy for them to also regain some Festive Holiday Happiness may be a blessing for you both. In all cases you’ll find your stress is decreased, because you have grabbed the reins of control of YOU, your time and your life.
To recap, the 8 positive actions for Mind Chi Festive Holiday Happiness to overcome the Horror of RELATIONS are:
- Stop and think about what YOU really want.
- Do what you want and on your terms (action not re-action)
- Reflect whether you have fulfilled your ‘duty’ should they die.
- Group, manage and space the various parties & gatherings.
- Explain your stress to your relations/friends and ask for their help.
- Plan for extendo-celebrations so you can spread the enjoyment.
- Say ‘No!’ – as nicely as you can and with consideration
- Take control of YOUR time and YOUR life. EnJOY!!
Next week these are three more Holiday Horror topics, they are: Time; drinks and appearance!
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