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If you’re losing hope of having anything that looks like a ‘Most Wonderful Time of the Year’, here’s my Top Tips for putting some Jingle in Your Bells…

We’re on our sixth Christmas since discovering neurodiversity in our house and I want to share with you what I’ve learnt so far. Following these new house rules means I don’t sabotage my chances of being Merry & Bright despite the challenges Christmas brings in my relationship and family…

Let Grief and Sadness have a room at the Inn…. my sad day arrived yesterday… I was in the supermarket surrounded by all the things other people buy for the big family occasion with seasonal drinks and treats, knowing that we can’t do ‘big family occasion’ and we’ll largely be sticking with what everyone does and likes the rest of the year! I allowed myself to be sad, for a while, for the Christmas I’d still like with my family. I’ve noticed it’s lessened each year and I don’t push it away. I welcome those thoughts and feelings like an old friend. I attend to their lament for easier connection, more togetherness, spontaneous fun and laughter. With loving kindness, I remind myself that what is tricky and elusive the rest of the year will continue to be this season too. We simply can’t magically conjure up a Christmas with all the bells on. It’s not that they won’t do it – I tried that for years and it wasn’t pretty. Everyone is doing their best and giving what they can which may actually be less than usual when expectations for social interaction and changes of routines are at play too. I’ll not let sadness dull my Christmas Sparkle. I bought a few of the things I love this time of year and it’s my intention to enjoy them without resentment for what isn’t harmoniously possible.

Let Space and Time have a room at the Inn… allow time for loved ones to adjust to changes in routine, e.g. from end of term/work to holiday or from one social occasion/event to another, even one meal or conversation to the next. It will mean you do less, more slowly, but it makes a massive difference so embrace having a reason to say no sometimes and do what you love whilst others reset. Minimise overwhelm by building in recovery time, in whatever form that is for YOU and your family. For family members that may be time alone. For YOU it may be seeking out friends and other activities that connect you with others and whatever makes you Sparkle. It may mean saying no to some things or saying yes but not everyone participating and being ok with that. If you’re not sure what people need for recovery time, simply asking ‘what do you need right now’, and letting them do whatever that is, can make a big difference to how things go. Let go of ‘have to’s’ and ‘should’s’ and let in ‘relief’ and ‘relax’.

Let Christmas Moments have a room at the Inn…. For the last few years I’ve had a Merry Little Christmas – rather than looking for the big all-out Christmas show, I create and look for Christmas Moments – a meal with friends, a frosty woodland walk, an unexpected car karaoke with my daughter, watching something on TV together, the taste of Christmas pudding. These aren’t forced – they are invitations and spontaneous moments of connection that are there when we let go of trying to achieve the whole big Christmas ‘thing’ that’s emblazoned everywhere you look on TV and social media.

Ensure you have an Emotional First Aid Kit at the Inn… Make yourself a list of 4 or 5 (or more!) things you know will lift your spirits at Christmas, so you know what to turn to when things get tricky or you need a Sparkle recharge. With my First Aid Kit to hand, I can check in with myself and know just what will give me a boost when Sparkle is waning.

I know that if you begin to let go of the Christmas you know, you’ll discover the Christmas you don’t… and it’s a Christmas that everyone can be Merrier & Brighter in without the pressures and expectations of Christmas Past.

If all else fails… sing ‘Let It Go’ from Frozen, as loud as you can, in your head or with an actual voice, and think of others who are doing their best to let it go the same as you this Christmas! I guarantee it will bring a smile to your face!

Whenever you’re reading this post, if you know that the next round of festivities MUST be different for you, book a complimentary call to discuss how private coaching can assist you to make the changes you desire or access support from me and other travel companions via Coaching in Community, with transformational and surprisingly fun coaching adventures that support your step by steps to reverse the impact of unknown neurodiversity, be YOU again and flourish – in your relationships and your life.

With Love and Christmas Sparkle…

Natalie Roberts

Author Natalie Roberts

Natalie Roberts is an award-winning Master Coach and Mentor supporting individuals and couples in neurodiverse relationships in the UK and around the world. She coaches individuals and couples to reverse the impact of unknown neurodiversity and thrive so that they can be true to themselves and feel empowered to make decisions about their present and future that are positive and hopeful.

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