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Top tips to see you through the Christmas period…

Don’t fall for the hype

It is easy to feel the pressure to buy and consume more than we can afford or need at this time of year. Remember that you have a choice. We can also succumb to the hard sell that convinces us that everyone else is having a wonderful, happy, family orientated time. The reality is that Christmas is stressful for most people, with or without their children.

Someone else’s rejection of you does not make you worthless

If your children cannot or refuse to be with you over Christmas or New Year, try to separate their decision or the circumstances from your sense of self esteem. Rejection does not mean you are wrong, bad or unworthy – it is someone else’s decision or choice at this point in time. Love your child from afar. Love them in spite of their rejection. Love them and take extremely good care of yourself because you are worth it.

Take excellent care of yourself

Take physical exercise to lower adrenaline and cortisol levels which keep us over stimulated and unable to sleep during stressful times. Even a short outing will help but better still, a walk in nature, the park or wood will help lift your spirits. Observe your surroundings. Blue Tits are searching for nest sites already – you too can look forward to the Spring. Indulge your senses. Treat yourself to scented candles, fragrant warm baths, soft towels, warming drinks, tasty food, calming music or when the mood takes you, a bit of a dance in your living room. Sleep is much underrated. We need sleep to heal and grow. Make your bedroom a comfortable, safe haven and take yourself to bed at a regular, reasonable time.

Let go of competitive feelings

You will always be your children’s mother. No one can take this away from you so relax into your status as their mother. Remain as constant as you can. We are in this for the long haul. Love and let go of competition. There is enough love to go around. If your ex or his new partner behaves competitively, remember that this about a drive within them and not about you. Do your best to detach from their behaviour and keep your focus on what is important – loving your children.

Watch out for perfectionism

Perfectionism undermines you and can be hard to spot. It pretends that it’s only trying to do a good job but secretly it feeds on telling us that whatever we are, whatever we do just isn’t good enough. Christmas day, the presents you have chosen, your children’s behaviour, your mood, the food, the weather and so on does not have to be perfect. A relaxed, peaceful happy you is far more beneficial to others and much better for your health and wellbeing.

You are enough

Whoever you are, whatever you look like, whatever you feel is ok and enough. You do not have to be Supermother – it would be dreadful if you were! Supermother would need to have Superchild – far too much pressure for you both. Focus instead on being and becoming more of who you are, the real essence of you. Tell yourself, “I am loving and lovable”, out loud in the mirror. Smile at yourself because it is true. Go and do it right now and do so every day over the holiday period and into 2011. Believe that you are enough, just as you are.

Sarah’s new self-help book: A Mother Apart

Support for women

Sarah specialises in counselling and training women. She helps non-resident mothers find inner peace by dealing with guilt, distress and other difficult feelings which can be experienced when living apart from their child. Her self-help book, 'A Mother Apart', published by Crown House, is available now. She also supports business women grow in confidence whilst growing their businesses. To find out more, please visit Sarah Hart's website

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