I had to go into town yesterday, the crowds around the shopping map, with all the festive decorations and wonderful jingles being played in every single shop I entered reminded me that Christmas is fast approaching.

I actually felt very grateful that I wasn’t rushing around completing my Christmas shopping in the crowd, but it sure got me thinking about the fact that whilst this time of the year is meant to be a time for joy, sharing and relaxation, many of are faced with more stress than joy.

And I don’t just mean the pre-Christmas preparations at home! People are rushing around, shopping, attending work parties, friends parties, family parties, battling in the carparks and on the roads, dealing with family tensions… No wonder that we find ourselves over indulging. It has got me stressed just thinking about it all!

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I like to take slower approach to it all, and encourage you to do the same. The benefits of doing that is that I keep myself centered, and use this time for retrospection and preparation for the new year.

  1. Don’t take things personally

With the tensions running all time high, if someone is nasty to you, stop before you react instantly. Is their outlash about you really? Or is it about them and what is going on in their life?

Is their criticism about you? Or about their fears and limitations.

Life is a mirror. Whatever we accuse someone else of doing or being is a projection of what is going on within our own mind.

  1. Slow down

It may look like rushing around a million mile per hour will get you all the things on your list done, but really it just leaves room for error.

A slower pace helps you be more focused on what you are trying to achieve. So instead of rushing from Point A to Point C like a headless chook, missing Point B in the process and having to backtrack, slowing down helps you take it all in and work more effectively. christmas-993291_960_720

  1. Reflect and plan ahead

Use this time to actually stop! Look at the past year. Check what has worked, what didn’t. What can you do better next year? What is it you want to change, and what you need to make the change?

Don’t do this after a bottle of wine on New Year’s EVE! Actually take time out to do it and write things down!

  1. Focus on the positive

What we focus on expand, so let’s focus on the good things.

Unfortunately we tend to minimise the good in our lives and focus on the negative. Let’s say you have done 9 things awesomely, but have one thing that didn’t quite work. Focusing on this will squash all the awesome things you are doing!  Let’s not make that mistake in the New Year!

If you focus on the good things in life, and are grateful for what you have already, more of the good stuff will show up!

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  1. Don’t rescue people

We are often tempted to get pulled into other people’s dramas because we want to help and ease their pain. DON’T DO IT!

This will just suck your energy for life and leave you defeated. Victims want your attention, they have no intention to change. It’s good to be compassionate and caring, but instead of providing solutions based on your own experience, help them find their own solutions.

  1. It’s OK to say NO

You don’t have to go to everything that is on offer. Pick and choose what are the events that you want to attend. Does it suit your schedule and other commitments?  Are the people there uplifting and fun or negative and draining?

Weigh things up. If they don’t meet your needs, politely decline the offer. This can reduce the overwhelm created by multiple appointments at various locations.