Christmas is upon us and with it the abundance of food and drink, the constant merriment and, for many of us, the mental and emotional overload of extended family and friends. Having a good relationship with our extended family is one of the most special things one can have in life. But equally, when we spend intensive time together, in a relatively small space, it can get quite tense.
We all know that relationships are a balancing act: between personalities, between wants and needs, and between spending time together and giving yourselves time apart. Taking time for yourself in the midst of all this togetherness can seem counter-intuitive, but actually it can be one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and those around you. The author Tamim Ansary said - “We need solitude, because when we're alone, we're free from obligations, we don't need to put on a show, and we can hear our own thoughts.”
So how can we make sure we have some time apart when we are all squeezed together into each other’s personal space?
Five minutes of meditation, mindfulness or simply closing your eyes and allowing yourself to offload can do wonders. By allowing yourself this time to reflect inwards, you are practicing the great skill of being in the moment, which is so important for your mental wellbeing and ability to experience things as they are and with perspective.
Take a walk
When the space feels like it is lacking in fresh air (real or symbolic…), take yourself outside and go for a short walk. It will help you digest on a physical and mental level and allow you to calm yourself down and recharge.
Take a break
Sometimes you find yourself in the thick of it and it feels like there is no way out without appearing impolite or selfish… if this is the case, allow yourself to zone out - quietly “disappear” from the situation and retract into your own peaceful world. Even a 10-minute nap (or just closing your eyes) can make you feel revived, fresh and ready for whatever is next.
Have a good month and happy and peaceful holidays