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How to Make This Christmas Your Best Ever!

How to Make This Christmas Your Best Ever!


    Is Christmas a joyous time for you? Or are you stressed?

    Overspending on presents, pressure from kids and other loved ones, prolonged and close proximity to difficult family members and loneliness can all build up your stress levels. Christmas can also be very demanding on your relationship as you spend a lot of time together with family and in-laws.

    However, it doesn’t have to be so. Christmas is meant to be fun and joyous. This year take charge and make it work for you.

    Make this Christmas the best ever for you and the family. Sit down right now for half an hour and decide for yourself what you can do this year to make it so.

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    1. Choose to believe that everything will go well. If you believe the office Christmas party is going to be boring, then think instead that it will be a lot of fun. Think only positively, and Christmas will be so much more joyous for you.

    2. Watch that credit card. Do not overspend to have a good time. Hide it for the next two weeks and use your cash only as and when you wish to do so, without any outside influence.

    3. Work out a sensible budget, so it doesn’t undermine the whole of 2009 for you. Christmas is only as “commercialised” as you let it be, and it can work on any budget. It is the things you do with people and the way you are with people that matter the most, not how much you spend on them. YOU are the greatest gift you can ever give – it requires no money whatsoever.

    Do everyone in your life a massive favour and suggest they curb their gift expectations. Go even further, and suggest that they give some cash to your chosen charity instead of a gift to you. After all you may already have everything you want, and you will be avoiding build up of clutter.

    If you must give a gift and you are uncertain about what to buy for whom, then give a gift voucher. Avoid that extra stress of anticipating whether they will/won’t like your gift.

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    4. Make the best of yourself for all those exciting parties and dinners. You deserve to look your best and now is the time to get that wardrobe in shape and to get a groovy hair cut.

    5. Stop worrying about how the house is going to look when you have visitors and family around. They will not even notice if say the net curtains are not washed. There is no need to create that perfect Christmas as seen in all those ads. The best way to make everyone feel welcome is to be a happy relaxed host.

    6. Accept your relations just as they are. They mean well and they are doing the best they can with their current level of awareness, knowledge and understanding. Enjoy their special company and eccentricities today – no one knows what’s going to happen tomorrow, never mind by next Christmas.

    7. Do something different this year. Perhaps change the venue of your Christmas party or dinner, or make it a Christmas full of activities such as walking.

    8. Create an alternative Christmas lunch – rather than slaving over the usual cooked lunch, have a “free for all” whereby everyone can have their favourite food. Allow anything as long as it is quick, easy and they can prepare or cook it themselves. You can then eat as and when you want and bask in front of the TV, if that’s what you like. Then have your Christmas lunch a few days later, once everything has settled down.

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    9. If you are going to be on your own over Christmas, then see it as an opportunity for freedom and space to enjoy the festivities even more. Do not let being on your own stop you from having a good time. Perhaps you can connect with other people like you, and have a communal Christmas lunch together.

    10. Spend quality time with your significant other and plan your time off from housework etc as if you were both still at work on your normal jobs.

    11. Volunteer your time and contribute to others. Focus on others and spread good vibes all around you. Think who you can help – perhaps a neighbour with the food shopping or babysitting. How about throwing a children’s party? Or feeding the homeless on Christmas eve?

    Remember, it is the giver who gets the gift. What a great Christmas gift for yourself!

    12. Chill out – if a guest spills some red wine, ask if it really matters. It will eventually wash out anyway, and is it worth getting your back up?

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    Finally, have fun! Simply relax and enjoy what is one of the best times of the year.

    Ultimately, you can choose just how this holiday season will be like for you. You can choose to love the Christmas shopping, the queues, the crushes in the stores, in the same way as you love the seasonal music in stores, the feeling of sharing and the spirit of goodwill.

    To quote a Christmas film (Scrooge), ‘We act a little nicer, we smile a little easier, we cheer a little more. For a couple of hours out of the whole year we are the people we always hoped we would be.’

    And in the coming year, make it one of your goals to be THE person you always hoped to be, ALL year around.

    A joyous Christmas everyone!

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    Last Updated on November 9, 2020

    10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

    10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

    Bad habits expose us to suffering that is entirely avoidable. Unfortunately, breaking bad habits is difficult because they are 100% dependent on our mental and emotional state.

    Anything we do that can prove harmful to us is a bad habit – drinking, drugs, smoking, procrastination, poor communication are all examples of bad habits. These habits have negative effects on our physical, mental, and emotional health.

    Humans are hardwired to respond to stimuli and to expect a consequence of any action. This is how habits are acquired: the brain expects to be rewarded a certain way under certain circumstances. How you initially responded to certain stimuli is how your brain will always remind you to behave when the same stimuli are experienced.

    If you visited the bar close to your office with colleagues every Friday, your brain will learn to send you a signal to stop there even when you are alone and eventually not just on Fridays. It will expect the reward of a drink after work every day, which can potentially lead to a drinking problem.

    Kicking negative behavior patterns and steering clear of them requires a lot of willpower, and there are many reasons why breaking bad habits is so difficult.

    1. Lack of Awareness or Acceptance

    Breaking a bad habit is not possible if the person who has it is not aware that it is a bad one.

    Many people will not realize that their communication skills are poor or that their procrastination is affecting them negatively, or even that the drink they had as a nightcap has now increased to three.

    Awareness brings acceptance. Unless a person realizes on their own that a habit is bad, or someone manages to convince them of the same, there is very little chance of the habit being kicked.

    2. No Motivation

    Going through a divorce, not being able to cope with academic pressure, and falling into debt are instances that can bring a profound sense of failure with them. A person going through these times can fall into a cycle of negative thinking where the world is against them and nothing they can do will ever help, so they stop trying altogether.

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    This give-up attitude is a bad habit that just keeps coming around. Being in debt could make you feel like you are failing at maintaining your home, family, and life in general.

    If you are looking to get out of a rut and feel motivated, take a look at this article: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It)

    3. Underlying Psychological Conditions

    Psychological conditions such as depression and ADD can make it difficult to start breaking bad habits.

    A depressed person may find it difficult to summon the energy to cook a healthy meal, resulting in food being ordered in or consumption of packaged foods. This could lead to a habit that adversely affects health and is difficult to overcome.

    A person with ADD may start to clean their house but get distracted soon after, leaving the task incomplete, eventually leading to a state where it is acceptable to live in a house that is untidy and dirty.

    The fear of missing out (FOMO) is very real to some people. Obsessively checking their social media and news sources, they may believe that not knowing of something as soon as it is published can be catastrophic to their social standing.

    4. Bad Habits Make Us Feel Good

    One of the reasons it is difficult to break habits is that a lot of them make us feel good.[1]

    We’ve all been there – the craving for a tub of ice cream after a breakup or a casual drag on a joint, never to be repeated until we miss how good it made us feel. We succumb to the craving for the pleasure felt while indulging in it, cementing it as a habit even while we are aware it isn’t good for us.

    Overeating is a very common bad habit. Just another pack of chips, a couple of candies, a large soda… none of these are necessary for survival. We want them because they give us comfort. They’re familiar, they taste good, and we don’t even notice when we progress from just one extra slice of pizza to four.

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    You can read this article to learn more: We Do What We Know Is Bad for Us, Why?

    5. Upward Comparisons

    Comparisons are a bad habit that many of us have been exposed to since we were children. Parents might have compared us to siblings, teachers may have compared us to classmates, and bosses could compare us to past and present employees.

    The people who have developed the bad habit of comparing themselves to others have been given incorrect yardsticks for measurement from the start.

    These people will always find it difficult to break out of this bad habit because there will always be someone who has it better than they do: a better house, better car, better job, higher income and so on.

    Research shows that in the age of social media, social comparisons are much easier and can ultimately harm self-esteem if scrolling becomes a bad habit[2].

    6. No Alternative

    This is a real and valid reason why breaking bad habits is difficult. These habits could fulfill a need that may not be met any other way.

    Someone who has physical or psychological limitations, such as a disability or social anxiety, may find it hard to quit obsessive content consumption for better habits.

    Alternately, a perfectly healthy person may be unable to quit smoking because alternates are just not working out.

    Similarly, a person who bites their nails when anxious may be unable to relieve stress in any other socially accepted manner.

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    7. Stress

    As mentioned above, anything that stresses us out can lead to adopting and cementing an unhealthy habit.

    When a person is stressed about something, it is easy for bad habits to form because the mental resources required to fight them are not available[3].

    We often see a person who had previously managed to kick a bad habit fall back into the old ways because they felt their stress couldn’t be managed any other way.

    If you need some help reducing stress, check out the following video for some healthy ways to get started:

    8. Sense of Failure

    People looking to kick bad habits may feel a strong sense of failure because it’s just that difficult.

    Dropping a bad habit usually means changes in lifestyle that people may be unwilling to make, or these changes might not be easy to make in spite of the will to make them.

    Overeaters need to empty their house of unhealthy food, resist the urge to order in, and not pick up their standard grocery items from the store. Those who drink too much need to avoid the bars or even people who drink often.

    If such people slip even once with a glass of wine, or a smoke, or a bag of chips, they tend to be excessively harsh on themselves and feel like failures.

    9. The Need to Be All-New

    People who are looking to break bad habits feel they need to re-create themselves in order to break themselves of their bad habits, while the truth is the complete opposite.

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    These people actually need to go back to who they were before they developed the bad habit and try to create good habits from there.

    10. Force of Habit

    Humans are creatures of habit, and having familiar, comforting outcomes for daily triggers helps us maintain a sense of balance in our lives.

    Consider people who are used to lighting up a cigarette every time they talk on the phone or eating junk food when watching TV. They will always associate a phone call with a puff on the cigarette and screen time with eating.

    These habits, though bad, are a source of comfort to them, as is meeting with those people they indulge in these bad habits with.

    Final Thoughts

    These are the main reasons why breaking bad habits is difficult, but the good news is that the task is not impossible. Breaking habits takes time, and you’ll need to put long-term goals in place to replace a bad habit with a good one.

    There are many compassionate, positive and self-loving techniques to kick bad habits. The internet is rich in information regarding bad habits, their effects and how to overcome them, while professional help is always available for those who feel they need it.

    More on Breaking Bad Habits

    Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] After Skool: Why Do Bad Habits Feel SO GOOD?
    [2] Psychology of Popular Media Culture: Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem.
    [3] Stanford Medicine: Examining how stress affects good and bad habits

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