How to avoid the ‘Home Alone’ stress this Christmas
There are not many people who have not watched Home Alone in their lifetime: the fantastic tale of how a family accidentally leave their young son Kevin at home whilst they go on a festive family holiday. Their plans of a wonderful time are ruined as they desperately try to get back and see that he is okay. Little do they know that he is setting traps and having an adventure of his own whilst he stops thieves from raiding the family home. And what a house it is! It is one of those iconic film houses that has us all puzzled – what does the family do to afford such an abode? This time of year always adds stresses and strains, no matter how much we try to avoid them, so in the hope of stopping any KEVIN moments in your house, here are our tips on how to avoid the ‘Home Alone’ stress this Christmas.
Being home alone is something that a lot of us have had to contend with throughout the pandemic, and it looks like many of us will have to return to working from home again due to new government restrictions. You don’t have to be physically alone to feel lonely; you may have recently lost a loved one, or be longing to see friends and family that you haven’t been able to see for a long time. This time of year is especially difficult, as the ‘magic’ of Christmas is thrust upon us everywhere we turn, with a strong emphasis on family and togetherness. This ‘magical time of year’ sentiment only reinforces a sense of loneliness for many and heightens all the anxieties that this festive season can bring.
Don’t wait for the season to be here and realise it’s too late to do anything about it – make plans now to avoid spending Christmas alone. Start reaching out to friends to make fun plans together, even if it isn’t on Christmas day itself. Focus your time on doing things you enjoy: it could be dabbling in some baking, finally taking time to read that pile of books you have been planning, getting out on walks, or even joining in festive workshops or charity events. One thing you need to do every single day is connect with someone; it doesn’t always have to be in person, but get back into those Zoom calls, family quizzes or even grab an in-person coffee or drink with a friend or neighbour.
“I’m eating junk food and watching rubbish, you better come out and stop me!” Home Alone
Nothing is perfect, even Christmas
No, the Grinch hasn’t stolen our Christmas, but if you are already overdosing on Christmas films, where everything from décor to food is always perfect and there’s always a happy ending, remember perfection doesn’t exist. Trying to achieve your vision of perfection will no doubt result in stress, frustration, and even fits of anger. Christmas is about the people you are with, the moments you share, the memories that are made, and that includes a disaster or two. See mistakes and accidents for what they are, because no matter if the wrapping is dodgy and the turkey is dry, don’t forget the most important thing of all – you are spending time together.
“This house is so full of people, it makes me sick! When I grow and get married, I’m living alone!” Home Alone
What’s that word again? … No!
Why is it that we find it so difficult to say no? We often say yes when every sense of our being is screaming no on the inside. You need to be kind to yourself and make decisions that are best for you and will help you avoid having stressful situations. It is typical to feel like you are letting someone down; you could feel guilty and worry that you will be thought of as uncaring or unhelpful. When you say no, explain properly why: you could have a prior engagement, you may feel anxious about what you are being asked to do, or you simply know it won’t make you happy. Saying no is a healthy way to manage your own stress this Christmas, but make sure you say yes a few times too!
“This is my house. I have to defend it.” Home Alone
How much do you miss when your head is down in your phone? Is a walk constantly interrupted by pings and buzzes, and are you then anxious about what messages may be waiting? Social media will be awash with people displaying their ‘perfect’ celebrations, but as we know the reality can often be different. Why do you want to spend your time comparing your life with someone else’s when a digital detox is so much healthier for your mind, body, and soul? Make this Christmas the one where you are present, where your phones are on silent or even left in another room so you can enjoy every moment that is before you rather than having this season pass you by.
“Would you please tell him that instead of presents this year, I just want my family back.” Home Alone
You are not alone
If you take away only one thing from this article, it is that you are not alone this Christmas. Reach out; whether you wish to speak to a stranger or a friend, there is always someone who will be willing to listen, or just to sit and be there. If you are new to the area and have no idea where to turn for groups and places to volunteer, please give our team a call. If we don’t know, we certainly know where to find out. Give our team at NEXA a call today.
We have listed a few charities below that can support you, a loved one, or a stranger this Christmas:
The Salvation Army