- Posted by Marcelle Crinean
- On 2nd April 2018
The adverts joyfully chime “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”, painting images of parties, celebrations, and fun; a world where large groups of family and friends, all getting along together, is the norm, and even monsters know the perfect gift for a loved one.
But that world is (North) poles apart from reality for many people. Christmas can feel like the most stressful time of the year, filled with financial worries, unrealistic expectations, time and family pressures, or the prospect of spending time apart from loved ones, making it difficult to think about Christmas cheer.
Even for “Die-Hard” Christmas fans, balancing the demands of already busy lives, with additional shopping, cooking, and family obligations, can contribute to feelings of overwhelm.
If your Christmas is more no-no-no than ho-ho-ho, here are some strategies to help reduce your stress over the festive period:
Write a list of everything you need to do, from Christmas cards to turkey timings. Writing it down makes your memory’s job easier, and you’ll sleep better knowing you haven’t forgotten anything. Prioritise the list, and tick things off as you go. Include important dates such as last Christmas posting dates to make sure cards and presents arrive on time.
Your brain becomes easily overwhelmed if it thinks tasks are too big or too difficult. Break activities down into baby steps that feel easy and achievable. For example, if you have 40 Christmas cards to send, and 20 days before last posting date, consider writing 2 cards every day for 20 days, rather than spending one evening writing 40 cards. Which one feels less stressful?
Christmas is a time to share, so share the load! Delegate where you can and make your life as easy as possible. Getting others involved will also help them share in the festive cheer and feel more included.
Don’t be a perfectionist
Worrying about everything being perfect will just add more pressure on you. Concentrate instead on enjoying the moment and making memories.
Make sure to take time out to relax, be kind to yourself, and do something just for you. This might include taking a night off from socialising, having a bubble bath, eating a healthy, nutritious meal, watching a movie, or phoning a friend. Whatever it is, make it something you really enjoy.
Exercise is a great way to reduce stress. It burns off stress and helps to produce hormones important for our mental wellbeing and happiness. Combine exercise with getting outside in the fresh air during daylight hours – this will lift your mood and help you sleep better at night. Try to get outside in the natural light every day, for at least 20 minutes.
A relaxing stroll, being mindful of all of the sights and smells as you go, will be just as beneficial as a brisk walk in terms of reducing your stress.
Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 😊