• 07: Christmas Holiday Survival Guide

    Episode Summary of The Grow Through It Podcast with Phi Dang, 07: Christmas Holiday Survival Guide

    This episode covers everything you need to know about the chaos and anxiety that can be Christmas. This episode provides practical tips and strategies to cope and have a calm Christmas. It covers everything from expectations, feeling distant from people, not physically being with your family and crazy families.

    What you'll learn from this episode

    • Expectations, what is reasonable and what is not
    • Worrying about Christmas and the future doesn’t usually help – how to make it so!
    • Set yourself up for a calm and drama free Christmas
    • The best things you can do to survive Christmas hint: prepare
    • Surviving family time together 
    • Coping mechanisms for Christmas
    • Feeling distant from family and loved ones
    • Not feeling good enough during Christmas
    • Difficult feelings that arise during Christmas
    • Being physically distant from family
    • Loss of family and Christmas
    • Crazy families

    Key Quotes from this Episode

    Forgiveness isn’t created through holding onto your negative feelings. 

    Forgiveness isn’t created through holding onto your negative feelings. 

    Forgiveness isn’t created through holding onto your negative feelings. 

    Featured Resources on the episode

    The Grow Through It Podcast with Phi Dang, 07: Christmas Holiday Survival Guide, Show Transcript

    You are listening to episode 7: Christmas Holiday Survival Guide.

    [Introduction to the Grow Through It Podcast With Phi Dang plays – Background Music: upbeat, confident, rising beat]:

    Don’t just go through life, grow through it. Don’t just go through life, grow through it.

    Hi and Welcome to the Grow Through It Podcast with Phi Dang.

    My name is Phi and I am a Clarity and Confidence Life Coach known as the “The Positivity Queen.”

    My passion is to help you go from stuck and self critical to courageous and empowered so you can conquer anything.

    Join me, every Tuesday, as I discuss all things mindset, self love, energy and purpose.

    This podcast won’t just inspire and motivate you, it will also provide practical tips and strategies you can implement in your daily life.

    Ready to grow? Let’s grow!

    [Grow Through It Podcast With Phi Dang End of Intro]

    [Episode 07 – Christmas Holiday Survival Guide: Begins]

    Hi beautiful souls, can you believe it’s almost Christmas!? What a year it has been, we’ve had so much happen and here we are almost at the end of 2020. Thinking about Christmas, it brings so much joy to many people but for some it can also bring anxiety and sadness.

    For me it’s mixed. My dad passed away close to Christmas 7 years ago, so I often feel sad as I miss him and reflect upon that. In fact it was a few days ago and I have just come back from a weekend away. It was so nice to disconnect from everyday routine and social media in order to reconnect with myself.

    In honour of this experience and loss, I wanted to speak about the Christmas Holiday season which brings mixed feelings for many. The end of the year and time off work often gives us time to reflect as well which can bring up all sorts of feelings.

    Before I dive into it I want to give so much appreciation to you listening to this, so much love and positivity. If you are loving the podcast, please rate the podcast 5 stars and leave a review – it would help so much to spread the message on mindset, self love, energy, purpose and mental health. Huge shout out to Ash who said “I wish I had this podcast when I was younger!” – thank you so much Ash. It doesn’t matter how old you are, you can start at any time, at any age to change your life. 

    Now let’s told holiday season. When I asked about struggles with the holiday season on my Instagram, there were 4 things that came up that I am going to speak about today: Expectations, Feeling detached from friends and family in combination with not feeling like you are enough, not being with your whole family and crazy families.

    All of this sounds like stress, sadness and mental breakdowns. Fear not though, I’ve got you.
    I’m about to provide you with some practical tips and tools to get through these struggles to create a drama free holiday season that is easy and smooth.

    Let’s dive into it.


    It’s funny, the Christmas holiday period we all have this expectation that during this time it will be happy and merry and all problems will disappear. If only, this is life and this is reality, these days are just like any other except for the emphasis and expectations we put on it.

    Something that is discussed at The Life Coach School is that many of us aren’t aware that we have a manual that we have created based on our beliefs, experiences and upbringing. It’s a set of rules that we think everyone needs to abide by and how they should behave.

    Examples of this are:

    • My partner needs to buy me a Christmas present and they should know what I want 
    • My family must be kind and loving to me during Christmas no matter what
    • My friends must spend at least $100 on my Christmas present

    It’s interesting because we think these things but often we never actually express these expectations or thoughts to the people around us. 

    These manuals are so evident in our head, yet we never share. How can we expect someone to behave accordingly if they don’t know your expectation? If you don’t communicate your expectation, you are setting yourself and others up for failure.

    So what can we learn from this?

    Communicate clearly. Tell someone what you would like and explain why. Often when our needs aren’t met we will resent someone yet we don’t even tell them.

    People cannot mind read. 

    People act out of their own will and freedom. 

    Trust the person that if they love and care about you, they will be open to listening to what you want and then it’s up to them if they want to meet your need or not. Simple but we complicate things by not communicating clearly and keeping expectations in our head.

    Let’s also emphasise the clear part of communicate clearly. I think many of us are guilty for dropping hints or thinking someone is absorbing every little thing we say or do – not really. 

    Say it clearly so the person knows exactly what you want. You don’t have to feel weird, awkward, selfish or embarrassed. By doing this you are communicating clearly so that there aren’t mixed signals or hints that go missed because that would result in you getting upset and them dealing with the consequences of that. So really by doing this you are helping yourself and them.

    So when we have expectations, when we have our manual, we have to remember that the only person who can meet our needs that is in our control is ourselves. 

    We cannot control other people. As I mentioned before everyone acts out of their own will and freedom, I want that, you want that, so no one wants that taken away from them. Think about how hard it is for you to control and change yourself let alone someone else. We can’t expect others to do something we would not.

    Expectations on feelings

    Another expectation that pops up during Christmas holidays is the expectation of feeling. Feeling merry. Feeling jolly. Feeling generous. We are attached to the expectation of happy and celebration.

    I want you to remember that we aren’t meant to be happy all the time, in fact you don’t have to be happy all the time! Just because it’s Christmas it doesn’t mean you suddenly have to be happy just like any other time of the year. There’s no magic switch that says on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day everyone in the world will be happy and get along. Life doesn’t work life that, we are human! 

    If you are going to have expectations make sure they are reasonable and realistic – don’t go into the holidays with blinkers on, thinking it will be joyful and merry. If you go in expecting a few challenges may pop up you will feel better because when they happen they aren’t out of the blue. Be in acceptance, it’s when we resist we cause ourselves pain and heartache.

    In fact why not use it to your advantage? If you are expecting certain things will happen, use it to your advantage and be prepared ahead of time. 

    You get anxious about future feelings, feelings you don’t want to feel like being annoyed or upset. 

    How are these feelings created? Your thoughts.

    By worrying or being anxious about the future, you feel like you’re in control but you’re not. No worrying or anxiety about it will change it. Only your deliberate thoughts will.

    Expectations Scenario on Christmas - Comments on Weight

    Let’s use this scenario, I have an Aunt who often says to me that I’m looking chubby and I could lose a bit of weight. If I accepted what she says and take that on board, I feel terrible. I feel guilty that I’ve eaten a lot and in fact ashamed. This is a result of accepting her thought and running with it.

    Instead I choose to accept the thought because it’s her free will but I am not running with it.

    My aunt can can say what she wants, as ridiculous as it is, even if it’s not true and that’s okay. 

    When the moment happens I prepare myself. 

    I am expecting her to say that she think’s I’m chubby and that I need to lose weight and so instead of thinking yes she’s right and feeling ashamed, I’m going to to decide ahead of time to think: okay, she wants to say that, and that’s okay. Maybe it’s because when she was growing up people used to talk about her weight all the time and she’s super conscious of it mostly in herself. As a result that reflects in her view of others around her such as me. 

    With all this, I am going to make the decisions not to take her thought on board as my thought though. 

    If I believe what she says I am going to feel upset and ashamed. 

    Hence think-ception occurs. 

    I know what to think ahead of time that it’s a reflection of her upbringing and experiences and I don’t have to accept the thought. As a result I don’t feel upset and ashamed. If anything I feel compassion for her that would be a hard experience being ridiculed for your weight and in turn judging others upon your thoughts about weight.

    Instead of feeling upset and ashamed if I ran with her thoughts, I am to decide to embody and feel so much love and appreciation for my body as it is right now based on my thoughts.

    You can apply this principle to any feelings in life, not just holiday Christmas ones. It’s a useful tool to have, prepare your thoughts, prepare your feelings and prepare your results. 

    Feeling detached from friends and family, and not feeling good enough

    The holidays can be so hard when you don’t feel close to your family and friends. Being around them and talking about your lives, the year that’s been and what you are up to can be anxiety inducing. If you don’t feel enough, that will come up through these conversations.

    I want you to remember that no one can make you feel anything. I’ve said this time and time again that your thoughts create your feelings and in turn your actions or inaction leading to your results. If you are feeling detached or not enough it’s because you are thinking thoughts to make you feel that way.

    What thoughts can you have instead that make you feel more connection with the people you are around? If you think thoughts such as it is possible to find a connection than that will influence your actions. Perhaps you will get more involved in festivities or make more effort to strike a conversation with someone.

    Perhaps your thoughts lead you to define Christmas and the holiday season. What does it mean for you? Connection exists beyond the family and friends we spend time with. Do you want to contribute to the holiday season in a different way by perhaps volunteering? Or connecting with individuals online too? What meaning can you make of Christmas? 

    For some it may not even be about connection, it may be simply rest, for others it’s taking time for themselves or perhaps it’s about generosity and helping others in need.

    Further to that, the end of the year is always a time of reflection but I want you to know you are enough as you are. Right now. You don’t have to do anything to be enough. You are already enough as you are, you are a part of this amazing world, you are here living and breathing. You are enough. 

    You get to decide you are enough. You can decide right now you are enough. Being enough is self belief, you determine that no one else but you. Think about this sentence, “If I believed I were enough, I would ______”.

    I bet so much came up for you right? Start believing it! The only person who has the power to make you feel that you are enough is you, no one else! 

    The secret to being enough isn’t that you have to do something, to achieve something or to be a certain way truly it’s believing you are enough.

    Not being physically with your family during Christmas

    With the virus, it’s to be expected certain friends and family may not be around due to circumstances out of our control. Think about what is in your control? Your thoughts.

    Turning to gratitude is always a saving grace. What can you be thankful for such as the family and friend who you are able to be there with physically. Can you be thankful that if they are alive, at least they are although it’s sad they can’t be there with you? If they aren’t here, can you be grateful for the memories you did share together? 

    Can you do something in honour of people who are not present this year? My family put up a framed photo of my dad and leave him a plate of food.

    Alternatively is there a way to connect with them without them physically being there whether that’s a phone call or through a video chat? Whilst these will never replace being physically there, it does help with missing them.

    Be compassionate with yourself, it’s normal to miss people when we can’t be with them. What’s important is to be present and appreciative of the people that you can be with. After all some may be lonely out there without friends and family others grieving the loss of loved ones this year. 

    When it comes to loss, a holiday can sure amplify those feelings of loss or missing. Be sure to take care of yourself. To make time for yourself. I find journaling really helps to release your thoughts and feelings out of your head and body.

    Dealing with crazy families

    I think we can all attest to the fact we all have unique and different families. Families are made up different personalities and there’s always bound to be someone you deem crazy or hard to get along with.

    The first point of call on this topic is to remember that you can only control yourself, your own behaviour and thoughts. You can’t control anyone else. Even what you think is reasonable may not reasonable for them just like their thoughts of reasonable may not be for you.

    Most of the time, it’s only once a year you have to encounter these family members, so in the grand scheme of life that’s not too bad right? Can you be empathetic towards them, perhaps why they are acting the way they are? Can you tolerate it for one or two days of the year? 1 out of 365 thats such a tiny fraction of a percentage of your whole year.

    Another thing to note. When it comes to ‘crazy’ families its important to remember you don’t have to like everyone and everyone doesn’t have to like you. 

    If you don’t like everyone, why do you expect everyone should like you? 

    There is no rule that says you have to like your family. If you think it is, you are operating from your manual, your rule book. Connection is multifaceted. You may not like someone yet still love them or you may not like someone and not love someone. That’s okay!

    Another tip for crazy families is to go into the situation prepared going back to what I spoke about earlier in the podcast about expectations. Accept that the day may not go perfectly and that’s okay. Accept that there may be tension or awkwardness. Be prepared with a coping mechanism, whether that’s taking a walk if someone annoys you or taking 5 deep breaths before responding as examples.

    Additionally I think it’s important to note that whatever people say or do is a reflection of their world. It hasn’t got anything to do with you. It’s a reflection of their mind, their world, their manual. 

    The Grow Through It Podcast with Phi Dang, 07: Christmas Holiday Survival Guide close

    Thank you for listening beautiful soul, I hope you found some useful insights for your Christmas Holiday. Merry Christmas and I hope you have a wonderful time.

    If you’re anticipating struggling with Christmas or many emotions being evoked post Christmas, let’s chat because I’m here to support. We can discuss your individual scenario to have you better prepared for Christmas and post Christmas. I have limited 1:1 coaching spots still available, so please get in touch if you are interested. You are not alone and I can help you.

    That’s it for this episode beautiful souls, I’ll chat to you next week for the last episode for the year where we will reflect on 2020! 

    [Episode 07 – Christmas Holiday Survival Guide: Ends]

    Are you wanting to find out more about 1:1 Coaching or working with me? Maybe perhaps you want to know more about me. I’d love to connect with you. You can visit my website or connect with me on Instagram @thephidang. Speak to you soon.

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