Protect yourself this Christmas

Positive Steps
Sadhbh Dunne

As group chats become livelier and Christmas festivities begin to fill calendars, you might be feeling an element of pressure. Are you hoping to end the year on a high? Or perhaps feeling worried that you have not yet made a grand gesture or difference in your life this year?
The first ‘normal’ Christmas in three years, this festive season is perhaps bringing its own added expectations that might be causing some stress.
Seeing a new year on the horizon can cause us to become reflective. All of the hopes and plans you were banking on ticking off your goal list may not have come to fruition in the last 12 months, and this can cause us to become consumed with feelings of criticism and remorse. Rather than thinking you are another year behind or further away from something, relish the new and endless possibilities that the new year brings.
And of course if these goals are something you want to continue to work on in January and beyond, take some time to consider what prevented you from achieving it this year. Was it due to external factors that you had no control over, or is there anything you can do to ensure that something doesn’t limit you again?

If any of the above is ringing true for you, boundaries are going to be your best friend over the next few weeks. Contrary to what you might be led to believe, you don’t have to accept every invitation that comes your way. This shows a level of understanding and respect for your own limits and placing these boundaries will make your Christmas experience a lot more enjoyable. And once you see the benefit of them over the season, maybe you will feel more comfortable carrying them further in the months ahead?
The chatter around ‘New Year, New Me’ has already started – is this starting earlier each year or is it just me?
This approach of hitting the ground running in January works for so many people, and a life coach will always encourage and champion someone trying to make a change for the better. But if you’re feeling a burst of energy and determination now, and want to begin working on something that you’ve been putting off, go for it. Nothing has to wait until January if you don’t want it to. But in the same vein, start slowly and don’t expect everything to come together before the clock strikes midnight.
Try not to get caught up in the picture-perfect festive season and trust that it is often the spontaneous things that bring the most joy filled memories – nothing has to be done by the book or as others do. You can finish this year whatever way feels right for you, whether that is strong and accomplished or grateful and peaceful.
Just know that you have done your very best in the situations you experienced and that one year alone does not define you.
Wherever you find yourself for Christmas and the New Year, stay safe and enjoy the moment.

Sadhbh Dunne is a qualified life coach based in Westport.  She is the founder of Ember Coaching ( and can be reached at

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