This year has seen our sense of certainty smashed to smithereens as the Covid lockdown and restrictions have meant significant changes for us in our routines. This has created so many wobbles in so many of us because it has obliterated massively a subconscious mental framework of ‘what we do and when.’ Such certainty represents how we feel secure in our lives.
Everyone has had to learn to adapt to different daily structures of routine.
As I discussed with a lovely client earlier today, this Christmastime creates the perfect opportunity for you to deepen your feelings of security. Every individual and every family have ‘their own way’ of doing Christmas. It is entertaining to discuss how we are similar and in how we differ in our rituals for decorating the house, celebrating Advent, how we spend Christmas Eve, and what we do on Christmas Day, the time we open presents, whether we are in PJs or dressed up, whether we have breakfast before, after or during present giving. Some go for a Christmas Walk, some eat at lunchtime, some later in the day… Each has their own way of celebrating.
Despite the differences, in your family you will no doubt do the same things year in and year out… Christmas rituals become family traditions. It is truly inspirational for my clients now to acknowledge that these traditions become ‘little anchors’ for us that we look forward to, that we can depend on. In this, we are creating certainty. A certainty that otherwise has been snatched from us in unexpected ways this year – more shocking to us because none of us in our everyday lives saw it coming!
As each family holds on and cherishes their own traditions, we are all held in this common warmth. This year more than ever, we will all feel ‘held’ through being part, as my client describes insightfully, of a patchwork of individual family traditions, even if our gatherings are smaller than usual. Imagine with me if you will right now, a tapestry of images of families celebrating with joy and peace, and love above all else. What a fantastic Zoom video screen it would make!
This Covid Christmas provides a good opportunity to take stock of those priorities for each of us that have been shaken up and sharpened this year. I hope we can join together, circumstances permitting, in taking the time to be very present with those you love; to cherish and appreciate what it means to have them near. I’m sure you will cherish and celebrate the memory of those loved ones who sadly did not made it through these very strange and tough times.
Personally, in our home, we always put the decorations up in the first week of December with Christmas music, wine, and mince pies. Decorations have a certain place on certain furniture. The tree is erected in the same central place. I always watch a Christmas film or two as I wrap presents, Christmas Eve we bake in the morning, sing carols in the afternoon, and then we have Lasagne and open our first present at the table. Christmas morning, we have stockings together in bed before breakfast and getting dressed for the day. Then we slowly open our presents one at a time, even Alfie my adorable pooch has his turn! We never eat until it’s dark to make the most of Christmas lights and candles, and then we play games.
These are our intimate traditions that we are planning to embrace again this year. This is our hope of certainty. What’s yours?
I hope this idea of holding a ‘frame’ such as this helps to strengthen a sense of security within you at this special time.
I am mindful of course that Christmas isn’t always a happy time and it might be tough for you right now to process difficult emotions and very real fears. If in the New Year it would help you to take steps to create a healthier and happier frame to look forward to in the future, then just book a call sometime and we’ll talk about how I can help.
Anxiety Expert – Anxiety Help Bournemouth & Christchurch, UK
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