2020 2021 Emotional Honesty Happiness Live Happy Inspiration Reduce Stress Relationships

It’s the most wonderfully dramatic time of the year!

Let’s talk Christmas Drama!

Christmas can be such a trigger as it thrusts people who are used to having their OWN say and OWN space together into a confined space, add in a heap of OLD dynamics (and alcohol!) and old expectations on behaviour and authority and you can get a really explosive mix!

Social conventions that usually apply between friends/ acquaintances/ colleagues often don’t apply in the same way with family so that restraint of social convention doesn’t hold as much water as it does in other situations where things would just not get said and tongues would temporarily get bitten to keep the peace.

This quote today I think is a really nice way of rising above.

We simply DON’T have to attend every argument we are invited to.

We can let other people play out their thing and choose not to get dragged in. To simply say “I’ve heard you” but then not follow them down the rabbit hole. For the few days of festive celebration, this can be a really liberating approach. Basically what happens is because you withdraw your energy from the complaint/argument it’s like a fire starved of oxygen: it will go out.

You become NO FUN to play that old argument/complaint dance with – and so – that person will go seek it elsewhere.

Remember – it’s YOUR energy and focus – YOU get to decide where it goes. You can decide to fuel the fire or starve it.

You don’t have to attend every argument you are invited to.

Isn’t that good to know?

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Cruel Yule – when Christmas kicks your ass

Not too soon to start talking Christmas Lunch is it, my lovelies? My tree is already up so I reckon it’s fair game.

It’s got political over the years has Christmas Lunch. Who is hosting. Where. What’s to be eaten. Arrival times. Gift expectations. Who is doing the washing up. How soon is it impolite to leave. And I was going to write about that – but then I thought…y’know…you are smart people…you can figure that out. There will be a million bits of advice on how to delegate and bring a plate and whatnot.

Let’s talk about something else that probably won’t be covered: loss at Christmas.

Christmas is generally the most joyful time of year, but for someone going through a hard time it’s hands down the bleakest.

There is something unbelievably emotionally polarising about the festive season. There is nothing like being expected to be happy and jolly to focus the mind on what has been lost.

It is a cruel truth at Yule that for each person bemoaning how many presents they have to buy or wrap, someone else would dearly love to have that special someone to buy for. And, for everyone that loves it – from tinsel to turkey – there is someone who simply can’t wait for it to be over.

Family circumstances change all the time. Death, separation, divorce, estrangement, addiction, depression, emigration. When a season is all about family this can be hard. When you are used to being in the bosom of a family and then find you are suddenly but effectively childless and family-less after drop-off on Christmas Eve, it can be utterly discombobulating, post-divorce. When you are used to Dad cooking his special festive BBQ and he is suddenly not there your whole world is rocked to its core.

If you are in a good place this Christmas then all power to you! Squeeze every ounce of joy from it! But also, take just moment’s pause from the prep. Look up. Listen up. Is there anyone who might benefit from joining you? Someone feeling lonely, displaced, unwelcome? Or is there anyone in your circle you want to check in with and check they are doing okay?

If the thought of Christmas is incredibly confronting for your personal circumstances right now, I’m sorry and I see you. Please don’t be afraid to reach out to those around you. Just because they haven’t offered or haven’t asked you how you are doing does not, repeat NOT, mean they don’t care. Ask for what you need. And, please, accept that hand when it is offered. You are neither a bother or a burden and you are welcome.

We are just at the point now that those who are secretly panicking on the inside about getting through Christmas will really be feeling it, so this week make it your mission to spread a little Christmas cheer ahead of time.

“A rising tide lifts all boats” said J. F. K. The natural joyfulness of the season can lift those who need it most if we all share a little love today.


If you are worried about your own or someone else’s mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.


 0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE) or free text 4357 (HELP) (available 24/7)
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Relative Harmony #2

A seasons sprinkling of final top tips for a harmonious festive season for you today, plus a little Christmas gift for you at the end!

#3. YOU teach other people how to treat you, and you are allowed to update that treatment from 1985.

One of the core principles I work on with my clients and my Wellbeing Warrior programme members is, “What you allow is what you endorse”. Essentially, we teach people how to treat us. We educate others what is acceptable to us by the way we lay out our expectations and the way we react to their behaviour around us. Strengthening our boundaries is the way we keep the good stuff in and bad stuff out. It’s that simple, and in adult life we are generally pretty okay at it. When it comes to family though…well…whoa….that can be a whole different kettle of fush and chups. If we have been allowing a certain behaviour since childhood for example, when we had minimal say in the matter, it can be much harder to assert a new boundary as an adult of, “it’s not okay to speak to me like that”. However, it can be done.

You are allowed to have different standards of behaviour that you expect for yourself and your life than you did in 1985. And you are allowed to update that standard and bring it into 2018. Being able to firmly state “It’s not okay to talk to me like that” and reiterate it with consistency to the point that it becomes the new standard is possible. I would pick your battles here though, some are so small and you may see your family so infrequently, it might not be worth the drama to you. But, for the big things if it needs an update; be firm, don’t whine, don’t argue. Just state what you need and expect, spell out the consequences and follow through if need be. You are a grown-ass man/woman: you are allowed.

#4. Don’t sweat the small stuff (and most of it is small stuff!).

Most of the Christmas stuff is small stuff, isn’t it? The detail of it all. That’s what causes most of the arguments and overwhelm: the myriad of tiny details and expectations of ourselves and others. Being able to stop, step back and gain some perspective is key.

The big picture is that however annoying someone might be in the moment (and like we said last week, no one pushes buttons so effectively as family!) you actually love them. The big picture is we love them very much.  That for every family member tearing their hair out about the way that Dad insists on making such an all-encompassing performance about the turkey or Aunty Pat’s penchant for un-PC jokes after too many sherry brandies, there is someone silently weeping that they do not get to spend that time with those that they love or loved. The big picture is that the small stuff is not worth sweating and that Christmas is something you feel not something you do. The details only matter if we let them. The big picture is really where it’s at.

I do hope you are spending your festive season with people you care about and who hold you in their warm embrace. I wish you all the most fabulous Christmas time, thank you for being along for the ride this year and I can’t wait for more in 2019.

I do have a special Christmas present for you all to thank you for reading this year, and for all the amazing emails and messages you have sent me. I have ONE scholarship to my online life coaching programme ~Wellbeing Warriors~ to gift to you lovely readers this festive season! To enter just hop over to and take 30 seconds to enter to be in to win a year of your best wellbeing with support from me! One lucky winner will be drawn on 21 December 2018 and advised by email.

Live Happy Inspiration Positive Thought Strategy Reduce Stress Relationships

Relative Harmony #1 (of 2)

(AKA How Not to Murder your Family This Xmas!)

There is a tremendous quote from American spiritual teacher Ram Dass that I thought would be particularly pertinent as we hurtle towards the festive season:  If you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your family”. Nothing, bar nothing in this world (with the possible exception of the current incumbent of The White House) pushes everyone’s buttons so thoroughly and consistently as family, however much we love them. Here are my top tips so you can spend Christmas kicking back with a cold one on the beach not hiding in the walk-in wardrobe from your extended whanau drinking gin through a straw.

  1. You can change the dynamic

If the way things usually roll out drives you crazy, you don’t have to accept the status quo: shocking news I know, but true. It only takes one person to change in a dynamic for all sorts of subtle shifts to occur. If you are sick of the sniping and bitching, the next time your brother comes to you to moan about the way your sister is organising the beach cricket, don’t get into it: ask him to address it with your sister directly. If you are sick of being the one that does all the buying of the food, email round a list of bring a plate responsibilities ten days before. I’m not saying people will like it, but I am saying you can shift the dynamic by making deliberate shifts yourself.

  1. The only thing you “have to do” is breathe. Everything else is a choice.

Christmas is not only the time of good tidings towards all men, but can also be an absolute obligation fest filled with “have to’s” and “should’s” of varying shapes and sizes. Nothing creates overwhelm and burn-out like an obligation fest: so if the pressure is rising, I’d like for you to step deliberately back into your personal power and remember that the only thing you HAVE to do is breathe, everything (truly, everything!) else is a choice.

Driving on the roads at the same time that everyone else is, is a choice.

Doing 19 different side dishes because everyone must have their favourite because it’s Christmas is a choice.

Choosing to write a Christmas card to everyone you have ever met since you were at school as you don’t want to be rude is a choice.

So, choose well.

The reality is, you have a finite amount of time, energy and attention: make powerful choices about where those finite resources get spent. “I have to” is disempowered, “I choose to” or “I choose not to”; that’s owning your right to decide where your most precious resources go. There is no apology required for using discernment and saying no. Reaching Christmas Eve a frazzled mess serves no one!

Your Christmas: your choices, so no guilt needed for opting out of excessive obligations.

Choose decisively and well.

One of the best Christmas gifts on offer to those you love is being energised and present and full of mojo and sparkle!

To celebrate the 3rd birthday of my Life Coaching Academy ~Wellbeing Warriors~

– and to thank you for reading my posts this year and for all the amazing emails

and messages you have sent me – 

I have a special present for you all.

I have one scholarship to my online life coaching programme ~Wellbeing Warriors~

to gift to you lovely readers this festive season!

To enter, just hop over to and take 30 seconds

to enter to be in to win a year of your best wellbeing with support from me!

One lucky winner will be drawn on the 21st December 2018 and advised by email.

Reduce Stress

Christmas Musings

How to dial down the Christmas Stress-5

Christmas isn’t something you buy

Christmas is something you feel


Christmas isn’t something we wrap up

It’s a something we open up within ourselves


Christmas isn’t about the sparkle of the lights

It’s about us spreading a little sparkle wherever we go


Christmas is so much less about a decorated Christmas Tree

And so much more about embracing our Family Tree


All the exciting new toys and gadgets to connect

Never forgetting the greatest joy is the connection of hearts in the room


So much talk about where we will GO for Christmas

And it’s actually so much more who will we BE for Christmas

The kindest, least judgy, fun-est, lightest version of ourselves?

I hope!

Be happy. Be thankful.
Be fully in the moment – that’s why it’s called “The Present”

Make some amazing memories + magic this year.

Happy Christmas


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Reduce Stress

How to dial down Christmas Stress

A quick google on a “stress free Christmas” will get you a fantastic list of sites stating the obvious. How to dial down the Christmas Stress
Startlingly informative gems such as:

“Set a budget and stick to it”
“Shop off peak”
“Make a list of all the gifts and food you wish to buy and shop early.”
“Bring a plate”

And my personal favourite
“Make a list”

Phew! No idea how I’d have made though the silly season without THAT advice. It’s right up there with “Eat Less, and Move More!” as a weight loss tip.

As you know we like to do things differently round here! So here are a few top tips which incorporate the place where all stress starts – our mind and thoughts. This is a handy checklist for when you are seeing red, and it’s not just Santa come down the chimney early.

1. It’s an obligation-fest of driving 4 hours there, and 4 hours back for a thing you don’t really want to go to.

Righto. Here’s the thing. Embrace the power of choice here. You don’t “have to” go. You are choosing to go. The only thing you HAVE to do is breathe, everything after that is a choice. So, you have the option:

a) Choose not to go. Choose what feels right for you + your family. And feel good about that, because that’s what you are consciously choosing. Let other people’s reactions be their reactions – you can’t control that.
b) Choose to go, not because you “have to” but because you are choosing to drive all the way there rather than offend Great Aunty Gladys and her award winning pav. That’s your choice and you are making it. So – you are actively choosing it, no one is making you, so be happy about it! You are doing what you WANT so enjoy it, eat the pav and drop the resentment.

You have full choice here, so make it and own it, and drop the resentment right out of the equation. This is a huge stress reliever and immediately ups the enjoyment and peace factor.

2. You can’t find the perfect gift for Mum/Dad/The Dog

Well, you know what – perfect doesn’t exist, and the quest for it is majorly stress inducing. Change that thought from “I absolutely HAVE to find the perfect gift” (just feel how pressured that sounds!) to “Showing my love and appreciation is the most important thing – the gift is just a symbol of that – it doesn’t need to be perfect – it just needs to be nice”. And then reach for the nearest Karen Walker ring/Ecoya candle or Beach shorts/T-Shirt (you can never have to many of any of those) and be done with it. If you find something “perfect” great but don’t torture yourself endlessly. Good and nice will do, take the pressure right off perfect.

3. You feel like you are running out of time.

You’re not. You are just trying to fit too many things in. You have exactly the perfect amount of time. What you have is too many things saying they are a priority. Stop. Pick the top 3 most important, focus on those and know that the less important might not get done and that’s okay – the world will keep turning. Much more important, you ENJOY doing those three things and bring a bit of Christmas cheer into making the cake/buying the crackers/cleaning out the spare room. Stop – and say “I have the perfect amount of time to attend to what is truly important” – feel the stress reduce as you prioritise with more discernment.

4. Everyone is bickering.

Well, you know you can’t control that. I know you want everyone to be nice like the whole Christmas period but where there is copious booze plus unlimited time, and everyone all thrown together, a few little disagreements are probably par for the course. If we can change our expectation from “We should all get on the whole time” to “We are doing remarkably well spending all this time together, a few niggles are par for the course” then as our super high expectations drop, our stress levels drop too.

5. You just want it to be perfect.

What is perfect? Perfect is a feeling. It’s not all the napkins matching and the tree just so. It’s the feeling you get when you realise how blessed you are to spend time sharing with the people you care about. If the voice of perfection starts to rear it’s head slap it down with a big dose of gratitude. Okay – there might be a few things missing from your Christmas – but focusing on who or what isn’t there only makes that gap seem wider. Giving thanks for the multitude of elements that are present takes the focus out of overwhelmed and stressed and straight back to joy.

We spend so much time saying “Where are you going for Christmas” – the bach, the family congregation, the road trip. And that is cool and important. What’s just as important is where are we going in our HEADS when we think about Christmas? Are we setting ourselves up for stress and overwhelm with expectations of perfection and total harmony, or are we embracing slightly more relaxed expectations that allow us to more easily connect with the joy in the experience.

When we are getting stressed about Christmas, it’s not about making a list of what we need to DO – it’s much more asking ourselves who we can BE as we experience Christmas. Can we bring our most relaxed, fun, light-hearted, joyful selves to the party? Who do you want to BE this Christmas? I am hoping for the most fun and relaxed version of ourselves.

Also – you know – shopping off peak is really good too!

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