by Heidi Bishop – Senior HR Consultant, EastCoast HR Group

As we hurtle towards another Christmas take a moment to reflect that this may not be a season filled with joy and sparkly things for everyone around us. That is not to take the shine off your preparations, expectations or celebratory mood, it’s just that many people around us may struggle over the festive season for many and varied reasons.

Often Christmas time is where many of us focus our attention onto our immediate family and loved ones which is fabulous and great as it brings us all together to embrace the beauty of life- long love, friendship and kinship. But what if our family situation is less than “picture perfect” either through dysfunction, distance, financial hardship, loss of a loved one, strained relationships, family break- down or violence?

Feeling ‘alone’ or ‘less than perfect’ can be made even more acute over the Christmas period in a world where social media rules and everyone else seems to be leading idyllic carefree joyous lives. Well, often in reality that moment in time captured on social media may not paint the full picture, we all have our struggles from time to time, no one or nothing is ever flawless.

So be kind to yourself when it comes to setting your own expectations and those of others around you, we’re all in this festive season together and we’re all doing the best we can.

Choose to show a spirit of giving and goodwill it’s pretty simple – be kind, be thoughtful, be tolerant, be embracing and reach out to others in your broader world. Put aside the fact we’re all tired, feeling the heat and in need of a break and take the time to smile, have a kind word, use good old fashioned manners -a please and thank you can go a long way. You just don’t know how powerful those small gestures and remarks are to someone who may be overwhelmed, struggling or feeling very alone.

And maybe those small acts of kindness might actually even give you enough ‘feel good’ endorphins to cope with your Christmas lot.

Happy Christmas! Let’s hope it’s a good one….for everyone.