Tag Archives: assertive

How To Customise Your Christmas and Cut the Stress

Do you sometimes feel it’s all too much?

Do you feel caught in a Christmas trap?

I used to. I worried about every aspect of the approaching ‘Festive Season’, feeling far from festive. And then my son, who knew how I was feeling said this:

‘Mum, why don’t you choose the parts of Christmas that you like and leave the parts you don’t like? You don’t have to do all of it!’

I was reminded of when I bought my new Mini.

I knew the colour I wanted but that was it. The salesman had to talk me through how I could customise my new car. He explained which features came as ‘Standard’ and then presented me with choices for all the rest of the spec. Bit by bit I built up the picture of the car I wanted, choosing fabric or leather seats, interior and exterior colours, automatic or gear shift and so on.

The Mini I collected bore very little resemblance to the one in the brochure because I’d chosen how I wanted it to be. I’d ‘customised it’.

You can do this with the Christmas holiday.

 There are no rules apart from the fact that we all celebrate (or not) on the same day. You do need to be positive and assertive (not arrogant) but with a bit of practise, you can do this!

What comes as ‘standard’?

  • A day for giving gifts
  • Food
  • Decorations
  • A tree
  • Cards
  • Family time
  • Parties
  • Carols

You will want to add more to my list but let’s look at the first three.

How to customise.

  • Gifts.

You need to get ahead on this one, if you’re going to change from the ‘standard’ requirements. If you want to change who you buy for, perhaps only for children and not for adults, let people know your intentions well in advance, to avoid embarrassment or upset. It’s not easy to change a long-established routine but it is possible to do it if you are sure that’s what you want to do.

You could write down what you’ll say and even practise saying it until you’re confident.

  • Food

Ok, so the turkey roast followed by Christmas pud, mince pies, large amounts of cream and custard, is fairly ‘standard’. But you can customise!

Christmas food should be special. That get’s hard to do when we have the ridiculous amounts of ‘special’ food in the shops all year round.

One way to customise your Christmas food is to choose your favourites. If you love fillet steak but it’s a rare treat, or your mother is coming and her favourite is steak and kidney pie then that’s what you have! Try to have the food that’s a ‘treat’ for as many of your guests as possible.

If you choose to spend the day with your OH then it’s easy to have your favourite food but it can still be done with the family. Not everyone wants turkey when they can have it on any day of the year.

  • The family.

Not so easy to customise but not impossible. Here are a few suggestions:

Decide, well in advance, where you and your family want to be for Christmas. At home? On holiday? At your parents? Your parents at yours? Once it’s decided, stick to it. A few feathers might be ruffled but there’s no rule that says you have to do what you always do. You can change the habit, if it’s a habit you don’t like…

Do you spend much of the holiday driving your children to see step – parents, grandparents, divorced parents, so much so that everyone’s bad-tempered and the children hate it? If it’s what you want to do, and most importantly, if it’s what the children want to do, fine. If not, decide how to customise.

It’s about forward planning. It’s about taking the ‘I ought’ out of the equation and replacing it with ‘I’m happy to’.

I was delighted, and still am, with my beautiful blue Mini. Every time I drive it I smile. (Except in snow.) It suits me fine but I know it wouldn’t be everyone’s choice.

You can customise Christmas, to suit your capabilities, needs, emotions and stress levels.  It’s not selfish in a bad way, it’s simply deciding what you can cope with. As my son said, so wisely, you can include the parts you love and leave out the parts that concern you. That way, you might even enjoy it!

How do you deal with the varying ‘obligations’ of the Christmas season?

Are you changing things this year?  

 Have you ‘customised’ Christmas?

Do pass on your hints and tips.

 

Header by cursedthing, post image by the mullett, on Flickr.

Advertisements

9 Comments

Filed under action, adjust, anxiety, change, expectation, fear, hope, plans, positive, progress, success, timing

How To Say ‘Yes’ To Saying No… (As Requested Last Week)

from giarose on Flickr

You know you want to.                         

It’s hard.                                                       

You worry you’ll upset them.                  

You want them to go on liking you.      

You feel guilty.                                               

You ought to say yes…                               

But you want to say no

Saying no is a dilemma for everyone.
No-one wants to rock the boat.
But there comes a time when you’ve had enough …
On Friday I asked you to tell me what you’d like to read about on this blog.
Carsma said she wanted to read about
‘How to say ‘no’ and mean it’.
This week’s  posts are  for her, but you can read them too!
 
Here’s my Positive Spin on…
 
How To Say Yes To Saying No.
 
Step one… Start slowly, with simple, non-threatening situations.
 
If you’re a passive/compliant/non-assertive person, it’s hard to suddenly change.
So start slowly.
It’s like  learning any new skill, you need to practise.
Remember when you learnt to play the recorder/piano/violin/guitar?
  • At first it wasn’t easy.
  • You made loads of mistakes.
  • You wondered whether you’d ever ‘get it’.
  • Sometimes you wanted to give up.
  • Then, next day, you started practising again.

But the key was:

You were motivated.

You wanted to ‘get it’.

And it’s the same with learning to say no.

Think of situations where you want to say no but it’s not that important if you cave in.

You could…

  • say no (with a smile) to the girl in the perfume department trying to sell you a new fragrance
  • say no (with a smile down the phone) to a casual coffee invitation but suggest an alternative date to meet
  • say no (with a smile) when your hairdresser offers you conditioner but you’d rather not have it
  • say no (with a smile) when your friend invites you to the cinema but it’s not a film you want to see
  • say no (with a smile) when your mother asks if she can come shopping with you but you’ve planned a rare and precious day to yourself

These may seem trivial examples but they have the same purpose as practising your scales for the piano: they prepare you for the more important no’s later on.

Take every opportunity to practise.

See how many no’s you can fit in before you come back to read about step two on Wednesday!

Meanwhile, please tell us in the comments, about the times you have found to practise and what you said no to.

I’ll do it too!

I’ll start my list right now. I’ll start by saying no to Mittens… she’s waiting by her bowl.

On the other hand… how can I say no to her!

 

 Header image by cursedthing on Flickr.

2 Comments

Filed under action, anxious, change, expectation, fear, goals, instincts, plans, positive, progress

Face It!

No-one likes confrontation.

It makes us uncomfortable.

It can make us afraid.

So we avoid it.

 

Why?

Because …it’s easier.

Because …we hate raised voices.

Because …we want to be liked.

Because… you fill in the blank…

 

We must Face It. We must learn to be assertive.

 

Assertiveness means finding the inner strength to tackle annoying/distressing/irritating behaviours.

 

HOW DO YOU DO THAT?

  • don’t be a door mat!
  • think carefully about what exactly you want to be different
  • if it helps, write down what you want to say
  • say what you want to happen
  • suggest how this could be done

For example-

You have a very demanding mother/father/ sibling. They expect you to be at their beck and call.

They play ‘the victim’ saying they can’t manage without your help/visits/taking them shopping/doing their housework/solving their problems.

Tell him/her how you feel.

‘I feel overwhelmed by all that you ask me to do.’

Tell them what you want.

‘I’d like you to stop expecting me to do so much for you.’

Tell them how this will happen.

‘I will visit you every …, and I can do … for you. But I am unable to do… ‘

 

Be prepared for :

  • tears
  • tantrums
  • criticism
  • refusal

Don’t enter into a discussion or explanation. Simply repeat your statements with a smile.

Don’t avoid.

Face It!

Remember:

‘If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.’

 

Leave a comment

Filed under action, adjust, change, excuses,, expectation, fear, goals, happiness, hope, persistence, positive, realistic, risk, success