Christmas is seen and enjoyed by many as a time of celebration, giving and receiving presents, spending time with friends and family, and enjoying food and drink together. Amongst all the joy and merriment however, stresses and strains are a perfectly normal and natural occurrence. Finances, time, social expectation, loneliness, heightened feelings of loss and grief or family strains can all add up to feeling a little overwhelmed, come the Big Day. In this article, we give some advice on managing stress and expectations during the festive period.
As we mention above, as well as a time of great joyfulness, Christmas can feel extremely stressful too. As at any time of the year, it’s very important to find ways to manage the stress that we are facing. Try to keep reminding yourself that it’s just one day of the year and you are not responsible for everyone’s happiness, much as it can feel that way. You can only do so much that your budget, time, and mental wellbeing can handle.
Why not try to:
- Stop trying to please everyone! It’s perfectly ok to say no to invites if you don’t have time, energy, or finances to attend. Select just a few events to attend so that you can enjoy each one, rather than feeling tired from over-doing it and worried about the cost.
- Let go of being a perfectionist. Does it really matter if you haven’t given everyone personalised table cards or that you’ve only got 3 red candles instead of 4? We’ll let you into a secret…no-one is going to notice except you! All that matters is that everyone is together. No-one will be looking at what is missing.
- Set a budget and stick to it. Don’t get yourself into debt, just to feel you are giving everyone everything. Shop around for deals, check out auction sites, such as eBay, where items often sell at a greatly discounted price, make items yourself to give – who doesn’t love a personal, handmade gift?
- Stay away from social media for a while. Yes, everyone ‘seems’ as though they are having a perfect Christmas with piles of presents and perfect decorations, but this perception will only create more stress if you compare and feel your life doesn’t match up. Focus on you and yours instead.
Managing Your Time
Lack of time is often a great driver for stress so planning and preparing in plenty of time will help you to work out how to manage all that you must do. Organise your list into priority order – what needs doing first and what can wait? What can be delegated to others – if you try to do everything by yourself, you’ll soon feel stressed and overwhelmed. Allocate various tasks on your list to others so that everyone is sharing the load.
Good Habits to Get into For Managing Stress
- Fresh air is wonderful for stilling the mind and feeling grounded and connected to nature. The simplest way is to open the window and feel the calming air on your face. Going for a walk is even better! Exercise is proven to help mental wellbeing and reduce stress. Take a good power walk to march away the stress and feel invigorated rather than sluggish.
- On the subject of exercise, try a weekly class that is good for mental wellbeing, such as yoga or Pilates. You don’t need to leave the house to do this before you start to find excuses! Plenty of online classes exist and free videos on YouTube.
- Try Mindfulness, which is the process of just living in the moment, with no thought given to the past or future – just be. Many free mindfulness apps exist, such as UCLA Mindful and Healthy Minds Programme. Taking a few minutes out each day to focus your mind and thoughts on the here and now can be hugely stress reducing.
We hope you have found these tips for dealing with Christmas stress useful. Remember, Santa has a truckload of elves and a magic sleigh, you do not! So go easy on yourself and recognise that you too deserve a Merry Christmas!