Life Is Just A Bowl Of Cherries

The title of this post is the beginning of one of my all time favourite songs (granted I have a few but this one is right up there). There are many versions but I truly love the version as revised for the Broadway revue Fosse - it reminds me of my dancing days with Bob Fosse being one of my all time favourite choreographers. Yet I digress - I could write an entire blog about my love for Fosse, instead the thought behind today's post is a little different. 

With Christmas on our doorstep the seasons festivities can bring much happiness but also perhaps an increased feeling of stress, anxiety and unfortunately loneliness. Or it might be that you find yourself unable to switch off from work and other day to day responsibilities to enjoy this time with family and friends. I don't want to skimp over these issues at all or make light of how difficult seasonal get togethers can sometimes be for people, be that Christmas or another similar occasion, but today I kind of got to thinking that my favourite song might make a suitable mantra to help you through if you find yourself overwhelmed during the next week or so.

Last week I posted a brilliant guest post from Nerys at Sheer Therapy with some great tips on dealing with stress at this time of year or indeed all year round - The Christmas Stress Factor. Today I thought I would add some of my own thoughts on the subject below.

Of course at times life isn't just a bowl of cherries. It can be tricky and complicated to navigate and everyone is running their own race trying to make sense of things as they go. There is a risk this post might sound like I am trivialising the effects of depression, anxiety and stress, I hope that's not the case. Instead I wanted to offer this song as a little piece of gentle optimism and escapism for the coming season as well as look at a few ways to minimise any negative feelings that may come over you during such a time.

COPING WITH SEASONAL STRESS

1. Don't set such high expectations. In a world full of over commercialisation (I think that's a word!) it can be all too easy to get drawn into the expectation that Christmas should be a certain way, look at certain way, feel a certain way. When it doesn't meet the measures that you've set in your mind, or seen on some picture perfect Christmas card, you find yourself feeling disappointed and disheartened. Let it be what it is and take it as it comes. You can't force happiness and the more your try the more you will feel let down.

2. Don't forget to take care of yourself. Tis the season to be jolly and all that but this can often lead to overindulgence in many ways (I speak from experience!) Excessive eating and drinking can leave you feeling both physically and mentally unhappy. Have fun but resist the temptation to over do it and although you should take time to relax don't completely neglect your usual routine. Get some exercise and fresh air, take a walk and learn to say no when you've reached your limits!

3. Honour missed loved ones in a positive way. This time of year will likely heighten any feelings that you have about dearly departed family and friends. I've been there and I'm confident of course that I'm not the only one. It's incredibly hard, lets not pretend otherwise but try not to dwell on the loss. Instead honour their memory in a positive way. Include them in a toast, remember a funny story, share memories with those close to you - whatever has meaning to you but can bring a positive memory to the day.

4. Don't get hung up on old traditions, try something new and break the routine. There's no correct prescription for what should be done to make a good Christmas and remember everyone will have their own needs and ways of dealing with this time of year. Don't get stuck in traditions that have long past and that are no longer necessarily even enjoyed. Create new ones that have meaning to you, break from the usual routine that may have been stifling you. Do something different or out of the usual. Don't be afraid of change and don't just stick to the same routine for the sake of it. Christmas is for everyone to enjoy in the way they see fit so let go of expectations, take it as it comes and enjoy it for what it is not what you think it should be.

Therein I bring this post to a close and finally back to my chosen song. Just remember to live and laugh, laugh and love, live and laugh at it all! Most of all find your own happiness and as the song says - 'Don't take it serious, Life's too mysterious!'