The Christmas ‘Crunch’. When it’s all too much!

What to do to make things better for YOU!

Well! Christmas. Some adore it and others hate it. Some don’t do it at all. Some have other celebrations. Whatever happens in your family and household the trick is to decide to ‘own’ it. That is to say resist doing the ‘victim’ thing:

‘poor me, I hate all this, no-one ever appreciates what I do and I’m the only one that makes everything happen!’

Factually this may all seem true BUT investing in it negatively can only make you more miserable! Negativity CAN only breed negativity.

So, instead, replace your negative self-talk with something more empowering. For example:

‘ It might be true that I feel taken for granted AND that’s my choice. I could always tell people in plenty of time which bits I’m prepared to do and ask others what they would like to do. It might also be true that I feel like I do all the work at Christmas AND that’s my choice. I could always start fixing things to happen differently before hand.’

Also asking ourselves the following kind of question can challenge old habits:

‘Is it true that I ‘HAVE’ to do everything because if I don’t other people will make me feel guilty or negative if I complain?’

What if you didn’t complain. What if you simply expressed yourself assertively and clearly stating the evidence and saying how much you’d appreciate more help?

Having recently shared a ‘one-off’ 20 minute session with a client on just these issues I asked her if she’d mind if I published a version of it to illustrate the benefits of being coached on this. She kindly agreed and here it is (names changed for confidentiality).

It’s quite long (although only 15/20 minutes in real time) but well worth the read!

‘Laser’ coaching session with Sue November 2010

Coach: Hello Sue. How’s everything going?

Sue: Oh, great really.

Coach: Smiles

Sue: Well not everything actually. I just need to sort out a few things but something’s stopping me.

Coach: What’s happening that tells you you’ve got an issue?

Sue: Well I’m feeling crap. Work’s chaotic but that’s because we’ve got a new manager and she doesn’t seem to know what’s what. It’s a really stupid time for a new person to start, Christmas. But I guess they had no choice as Clare the last manager just walked out!

Coach: Your work life’s really frustrating and it sounds like you feel there’s not a lot you can do about it at the moment?

Sue: Yes that’s it but I think it’s more about everything. I can’t focus on one thing at a time ‘cos there just are so many things! Christmas looks like it’ll be a nightmare again and it shouldn’t be – I love Christmas! I make everything really nice for everyone. I do the cards, the pressies, the tree and the decorations and all the cooking (except this year I’m going to get a stuffed turkey breast from Sainsbury’s!!). I do all the arranging who’s doing what, where and when. I try so hard to make it all work and get everyone happy but they just never are!  I end up feeling tired out. Then they make me feel bad cos I’m grumpy!

Coach: So you try so hard to make Christmas how it should be for you but you reckon it won’t work out again. What do you really want to focus on today?

Sue: Christmas!!  I want a better Christmas.

Coach: When was the last time it worked for you?

Sue: Actually it sounds cruel but when Gran died everyone rallied round. People didn’t stick their heals in about what they wanted so much. They seemed to care about each other more. The kids particularly seem so selfish at the moment and I really didn’t bring them up to be like that! I s’pose it’s just like everything today, so spoilt and selfish when we’ve all got so much !

Coach: Just to clarify you’re saying that when your Gran died people were nicer to each other and helped with what needed doing. What made the difference do you think?

Sue: Well it guess everyone somehow knew that when someone is grieving you need to be careful and sensitive to their needs and feelings and, because that applied to all of us, it happened all round.

Coach: (smiling) Not wanting to imply anything (!) what could you take from that time that worked for you and apply it to this Christmas?

Sue: (laughing) Well I wouldn’t want anyone to die but it needs something to happen to get everyone to pull together.

Coach: What sort of thing could that be?

Sue: (still smiling) Well I suppose I could tell everyone where I’m coming from! But I don’t reckon they’d really care! I’ve done everything for so many years keeping my feelings hidden (crying in the bathroom and stuff) in case I’m let down. When I’ve tried to tell Chris he’s been caring enough and offers to help but he just never follows through for me. I know he loves me but he isn’t the sort of person that knows how important it is to show it to me. He works so hard I feel bad asking him. He makes me feel guilty. I should be able to cope. I’m strong!!!

Coach: So it’s very important to you to be strong?

Sue: Yes. Or I feel I’m letting the side down. It’s my role. Oh…….. I see what you’re getting at. Being ‘strong’ means I take all the burdens even when I don’t want to! I see!! And then I moan about it!

Coach: What could you do differently?

Sue: (smiling knowingly) Well I could stop telling myself that ‘carrying everything means I’m strong’. It’s not working for me! Where did I get this idea from?  Anyway – instead I could say ‘sticking up for my right for help and consideration’ might make me feel stronger!

Coach: Where did you start believing that your strength as a person lay in carrying everything and that asking for help would make you feel weak?

Sue: I guess from when I was younger and never got the help I needed. I didn’t know what to ask for really. So better not to try than be let down. Had to believe in my own resources.

Coach: What else could you do to make Christmas better for you?

Sue: I could tell myself I’m worth risking people’s wrath and identify what I want them to do and just ask them! Not to be frightened if it’s tricky. I know I can find a way if I really want to. That’s actually my strength! Except do it for me!

Coach: How much do you want this Sue?

Sue: Oh loads cos’ otherwise I’m just not going to cope!

Coach: And coping is very important to you.

Sue: Yup. I hate feeling out of control.

Coach: Right. How and when are you going to do this.

Sue: Now! I’m going to make a list then work out the best way and when to speak to people. This is the best thing for me.  I’ve got it now!! Thanks Penny.

Coach: It’s really down to you. As you said your real strength is finding ways through things. Have you got what you wanted? You’ve really cracked it by the sound of it. Well done!!

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