Eight ways to emotionally prepare for the holidays


As we head towards the holiday season, stress starts to build about all the obligations we have to fill. Whether it’s Thanksgiving, Bodhi Day, Yule, Hanukkah, Pancha Ganapati, Christmas or the New Year, it seems like there is an endless list of events, and family and friends to see.

So how do you survive the season without completely burning out and burning bridges? Being emotionally prepared is the best way to tackle this time of year head on. It means that no matter what you face (or who), you can stay grounded, care for your health and actually enjoy the season.

Here are eight ways you can emotionally prepare for the holidays.

  1. Plan everything out

Take out a diary or calendar before December, and write in every event you have coming up. Note down work parties, family events, the date family flies in and out, the nights people are coming over for dinner, and the days you have time to go shopping for food and gifts.

  1. Decorate early

If your holiday celebrations generally include decorating the house, start early while you still have time. Make it a family activity, and you’ll have a great time while also easing the burden of having to make the holidays picture-perfect when you have a million other things to do.

  1. Get over your FOMO

It seems like there is something happening every day in December, but if you want to have a healthy and enjoyable holiday season, you need to get over your FOMO (fear of missing out). You can’t do everything, and you shouldn’t. Make a list of all your activities, and mark down what you have to go to, what you want to attend, and what can be missed.

  1. Pre-plan difficult conversations

Aunty Edna and cousin Jack have differing political opinions, and your mother in-law starts to cry anytime conflict comes to the fore. It would be lovely to avoid these conflicts, but we know that is nearly impossible. Instead, pre plan what you will say to ease the tension if a contentious topic comes up.

  1. Get a wing man or woman

Parties and celebrations are always easier when you have someone to bail you out of awkward and stressful situations. Whether it’s a work party, a family dinner or casual BBQ, ask your partner, colleague, friend or another family member to step in on your conversation, or whisk you away for an ‘emergency’.

  1. Make time to veg out

It’s impossible to go full throttle all through December, so give yourself permission to chill and zone out when needed. Watch your favourite TV show, exercise, meditate or read a book. Your mind and body need to disengage from the stress, so give them time to do so.

  1. Stop feeling guilty

There’s so much to feel guilty about over the holidays. You don’t invite the right people to the party, you accidentally offend a parent, and you consume a year’s worth of junk food in a matter of days. You need to consciously put a stop to your guilt every time it comes up. Try using self-talk like, “I don’t have to be perfect,” “I am a good person,” and “My worth is not determined by the food I eat.”

  1. See a counsellor

The holiday season allows a lot of our deeper issues to rise to the surface. Isolation, depression, family trauma and stress all rear their heads this time of year, and that’s okay. Take the opportunity to speak to a counsellor or confidant as the season begins so you can emotionally prepare for the month ahead.

Does the holiday season stress you out? Are you anxious about seeing family or friends over December? Here’s what you need to do: contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book on our online diary.

The Enneagram in Pop Culture: 90’s sitcoms


Do you ever pull out a classic Chandler Bing phrase without thinking? Perhaps you once resonated with the fatherly role of Phillip Banks or long to shop ‘till you drop like his daughter, Hillary? Let’s face it, we often feel like we know many of these iconic characters better than we understand ourselves. In fact, we could probably pin point how they would react in certain situations.

So, did we learn anything from those years of watching iconic series like FRIENDS, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air or Frasier? Well, yes, we did actually. Because these sit coms display the 9 personality types of the Enneagram in a hilarious and heart warming way.

In the past we have discussed the traits of each personality type. To make better sense of these types though, we have also categorised the personality types into their motivational centres. There are three—people who are compelled to ‘do’, people driven by their thoughts, and people who are driven by their gut-instinct.

In the infographic below, you’ll notice doers vary in personality. This centre contains everything from the nursing instincts of Daphne and Vivian Banks (Type 2’s), to the quirkiness of Will and Frasier Crane (Type 4’s). Doers are compelled to act before they feel or think—yet often, their behaviour stems from an underlying feeling or need.

The thinking centre contains the cerebral characters, like Niles Crane  (Type 5) and Ross Geller (Type 6). Yet it also possesses the dry wit and loyalty of Geoffrey’s Type 6, and the carefree spirit of Ashley’s Type 7.

Lastly, the gut driven centre is built upon instinct. These characters work from their deep need to pursue justice, make peace, or challenge the status quo. Protagonists like Phillip Banks and Marty Crane  (both Type 1’s) fit into this group, as well as Chandler Bing (Type 8) with his provocative wit. This category also includes Roz, (Type 9), who is either overwhelmed by her emotions, or in complete denial of them in an attempt to remain neutral.

Are you a doer, a thinker or someone driven by gut instinct? Take a look at the characters below and see which ones you best relate to. You never know, you might just learn something about yourself while you pull out those great Carlton dance moves!


Would you like to better understand yourself and the people around you? Do you want to learn more about the Enneagram? Here’s what you need to do: contact WatersedgeCounselling on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book in our online diary.

5 Strategies to Cope with Social Anxiety at Events


I’ve struggled with an anxiety disorder for years and the familiar sensation of a butterfly trying to erupt from my stomach is like an old (annoying) friend. It was only recently though, that I realised I also have social anxiety. It’s different from my standard fears about irrational, illogical things. Normally I can conquer them or just wait for it to pass. But when it comes to social anxiety, I have this perpetual uncomfortable sensation that will appear when I am going to the coffee shop, attending a party or am standing in a crowd.

Realising that I have social anxiety has made it easier for me to rationalise why I feel this way. It has also made me aware that I’m not the only person who feels uncomfortable in social settings. With Australia Day coming up, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to look at 5 strategies on how we can cope with social anxiety at events. Take note of these before you go out next, and while it may not eliminate your anxiety, hopefully it will make you feel a little more in control of it.

  1. Plan your schedule in advance

There is nothing worse than someone asking me to make a decision in a public place. I stutter, I fumble and I freak out before some inaudible words pour out of my mouth. Before you head out, have you schedule mapped out to ease this anxiety. Know where you are headed, what time you are going and roughly who will be there. It often helps to text a friend in advance so you can plan to be there at the same time.

  1. Set a opening and closing time

Australia Day celebrations (or any party) may start at a certain time according to your Facebook invitation, but this isn’t mandatory attendance. Decide on the time you will arrive at the event and also when you plan to leave. Time constraints give you a goal and when utilised, can eliminate moments of awkwardness.

  1. Bring a friend with you

My career requires me to enter social environments and I often have to meet a bunch of new people or catch up with acquaintances. As much as possible, I always bring a good friend with me as a buffer. They calm my anxiety, can carry conversation and make me feel far less awkward if I am standing by myself.

A tip: Bring someone who is more comfortable at social events than you. They will appease how uncomfortable you are with their easy-going nature.

  1. Give yourself time to settle

I normally hit crunch time about an hour and a half into an event. I become aware that I am mentally exhausted, and I feel like I need space to settle. In these moments, I try to ‘get away’ from a situation and break up the event so I can stay for the long haul. One way I do this is by helping out with the dishes or clean up. It allows me to get up and move before I take some deep breaths and return to conversation.

  1. Be kind to yourself

I don’t go through an event without wishing I could scoop back the words I just spoke and reshuffle them. I’d like to sound cooler, be more relaxed and pretty much blend into the background. Social anxiety means that no matter how well I get through an event, I’m always disciplining myself on how I could have managed it better. Be kind to yourself when this happens! The fact you actually faced this anxiety and gone to an event is a huge accomplishment in itself, and 99 per cent of the time no one else even notices how awkward you feel.

Do you struggle with social anxiety? Would you like some help overcoming this fear? Here’s what you need to do: Contact us on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you or book online now.