Alternative Christmas Cracker Blog – Read our festive tips

Christmas is different for everyone, for some it is the ‘most wonderful time of the year’, but for others is can be a sad reminder of what or who they don’t have. A Christmas cracker reminds us of many things; family and friends, dinner round the table, laughter at the silly jokes and gifts. It also reminds us of those feelings of connection, belonging and sharing that cracker pulling moment with others.

We know that some won’t get that opportunity to share xmas dinner with family and friends or pull those conventional Christmas crackers.

However, there are ways that we can help each other manage xmas, possibly feel connected, find a place to belong and create your own xmas moments that you can treasure. Here are a few suggestions, all contained within this CHRISTMAS cracker

C – Counting backwards as you breath is the quickest and easiest way to get control back over your emotions, especially if you are starting to feel anxious. Count backwards from 10 and breathe with every count. With your mind follow your breath in through your nose and imagine or feel it as it flows all the way down your throat and into your tummy, sometimes mine gets stuck in my throat, so I swallow it down. Then exhale and release all the emotion our through your mouth and its always good to give a little sigh as you breath out.

H – Help out at a food kitchen. If you are on your own and looking for something positive and beneficial to do with others then this is a wonderful solution. Volunteering will bring you immense satisfaction, as well as company and a real sense of belonging. Getting perspective can be a real game changer. Seeing others who have no food, money or even accommodation come together and celebrate, watching how they can still enjoy each other and how they REALLY appreciate what they do have will definitely give you perspective. You will be helping to bring joy to others and will certainly feel part of a special occasion. If you are struggling and need food, shelter and companionship then please find your nearest xmas food drive or shelter.

R – Remember it is only one day, same as today and yesterday. At the end of the day it is only a few hours, so if Christmas brings too many unhappy memories then prepare ahead on how you will manage the day, use some of the strategies mentioned here to help you.

I – Inform someone if you are struggling – If you are spending xmas day with family and friends then choose someone to confide in and get support from “xmas buddy’. One idea is to have a little word or gesture that you can use if things get too much for you. That way you have an easy way to remove yourself from the situation without feeling that you have to explain yourself, draw attention to yourself or even alert anyone else to it.

S – Smile, it sounds so simple, but the act of smiling releases happy endorphins in your body and will make you feel a little better. This is a great tip if you feel your mood changing and you are worried that the emotion will become too much, just smile.

T – Take time out and have an escape plan. I know it can sound a little dramatic to have an escape plan, but it really will help. If you find the situation you are in getting too much emotionally, whether it’s at a family dinner, drinks with friends or reminiscing around the fire. Ahead of the day plan how you are going to remove yourself from the situation, so simple things like knowing where the bathroom is, having something outside that you “want to go look at” or have a ‘text buddy’ that you can text and will call you. These just give you peace of mind that you can manage the situation without anyone having to be aware. Always remember that talking is a good option, so if you can have an ‘xmas buddy’ then even better.

M – Make yourself the priority by making YOUR plan. It is always nice to be nice, especially at xmas, but it is even nicer to be nice to ourselves. Decide ahead what you feel comfortable doing or not doing and have a plan that allows you to do this. Stick to your plan, it is absolutely ok to say no to others in order to keep yourself safe. It is important that it is YOUR plan so you feel in control, it YOU feel like altering it through the day then that’s great, but don’t be pressured by others just because it is xmas.

A – Allow yourself to acknowledge and feel whatever emotions come up, honour them, allow them to move through you AND always have a strategy for letting them go. Whether that is a simple shaking of the body to physically shake off the feelings or imagining the feelings moving through your body and out the bottom of your feet. The important part here is that if you acknowledge the feelings are there and allow them to surface then you can do something with them. Ignoring, running or berating them will only make them bigger. Other good tip is to carry something with you that makes you smile, a photo, a memento or even a random object, whenever you need a little boost then touch the item and remember the joy that is gives you.

S – SHARE; whether it’s a present, a hug, your company, a Merry Xmas, or just a few words. Sharing is the gift that brings most pleasure, so always know that no matter what you have or don’t have, you ALWAYS have the ability to share something that can give another joy and in return make you feel better


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