For the most part, Christmas really is “the most wonderful time of year”. However, we do all have the propensity to view it with rose-tinted glasses for 11 months of the year, and then come December, the reality of how much preparation and expectation there is sets in and it can be quite an overwhelming time! From sending out Christmas cards and prepping festive feasts to deciding on the perfect gift for everyone (let alone actually buying them), Christmas is actually very stress-inducing for people all across the world. This build-up of acute stress, alongside the bad weather and increased exertion around the Christmas period, is detrimental to both your physical and mental wellbeing. To ensure that you all stay on top form and get the most out of this lovely holiday, I want to share some of my top tips for reducing your stress this Christmas.
1. Create a To-Do List!
Creating a comprehensive list of all the tasks you need to do leading up to Christmas day is one of the best things you can do to reduce festive stress. With so many extra events and errands to fit into our already busy schedules, it can seem an overwhelming impossibility to fit it all in on time for the big day. A gnawing sense of stress and anxiety can start to accumulate. Making a weekly to-do list, breaking down bigger tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks and planning when you have the time to fit them in can make the mountain of ‘to-do’s seem that much more feasible in that you can really visualise the light at the end of the tunnel. Adding even the smallest and easiest of tasks to the list is important, because you can see the progress you are making (it’s also very satisfying and rewarding to tick things off). Planning ahead really is your best friend at this time of the year!
2. Limit Your Spending
Money can be a prominent and troubling source of stress all year round, only to be intensified during the Christmas period. Gift buying, entertainment, and travel are all expenses that tend to skyrocket around the festive period and will all fuel financial burden, even for the savviest of shoppers. Whilst it is near impossible for your purse not to take a hit, there are some things you can do to reduce money-related stress this Christmas.
Top of the priority list should be making a budget. Begin by ensuring that all of your usual expenses are accounted for so that you don’t fall short on your usual bills and then incorporate any plans you have over the holidays, such as parties or travelling to see friends and family. Once these items have been subtracted from your budget, you will then be able to work out how much you can spend on gifts. Being organised and realistic about your budget will ensure you do not overspend and leave yourself in a difficult position for the rest of the month. That said, a budget is only useful if you stick to it! Avoid the temptation to splash out on things unnecessarily. Christmas should be about spending time with your loved ones, don’t get wrapped up in perfect gifts with huge price tags.
3. Manage Your Expectations
While Christmas is always a fun and wholesome affair, there can be a lot of pressure for your Christmas’ to match this picture-perfect image which has been marketed relentlessly for years. When reality falls short of this vision, it can feel disappointing and stressful. Whether it’s a burnt turkey, a forgotten gift or a lop-sided Christmas tree, these mini mishaps can seem like calamities in light of the sparkly, effortless, rose-tinted vision that people tend to view Christmas with. Rather than let it get under your skin and cause unnecessary stress, try to use these little challenges as an opportunity to exercise flexibility and resilience. More often than not, it is the mishaps that will be the fondest of memories for years to come, so take a breath and don’t let the little things ruin your Christmas!
4. Avoid Overindulging
‘Tis the season for indulgence. No matter how hard we try, with the onslaught of festive parties and delicious dinners it’s hard to avoid extravagant foods and alcoholic drinks. Whilst I am not suggesting you cut them out entirely, as they are an integral part of the Christmas fun, I am advising that you eat and drink in moderation. While the detriments of overindulgence are obvious, it is also a product of stress and could be a signal that you’re overdoing it in other areas of your life too. If you do find that you are eating and drinking excessively, try not to get too down by it. One day of indulgence is not the be all and end all; you can always get back on track with healthier choices the next day. It is just something to be wary of around this time of year, just remember to maintain your balance.
5. Get Some Rest!
Christmas is pretty full on. With our everlasting to-do lists and our hectic social lives there is barely a minute to sit down and recharge our batteries. When you don’t listen to your body and burn the candle at both ends, you run the risk of burning out entirely, either from stress or exhaustion! It is essential, amidst the chaos, to take time to ground yourself and give your body and your mind time to recuperate. Whether you chose to take a little time to go on a walk, or turn down an evening of partying, you will find that you are much less stressed and better equipped to tackle Christmas with renewed energy if you’ve made sure you look after yourself first and foremost.
A Little Lifestyle Guidance This Christmas
Christmas is a wonderful and wholesome time of year. However, as we know it can be stressful, I would urge you to think positively, pace yourself, be organised, and remember that warm fuzzy “job-well-done” feeling you get when friends and family are together celebrating around your festive table. If any part of this blog has resonated with you, and you are looking for some help and advice on finding your balance this Christmas, then please get in touch with me and we can talk through how you can minimise your stress levels and make the most of this festive period!