Dealing with the Stresses of Christmas
From the right party outfit to the perfectly wrapped present and the most amazingly decorated Christmas tree, if you, like many people, put intense pressure on yourself at Christmas, it’s no wonder you’re left feeling stressed. Here are some tips on how you can reduce stress over the seasonal period:
In the run up to Christmas
- Take some time for YOU, it’s also far too easy to get caught up with the planning, decorating, and socialising of the festive period, but it really does take a toll on the stress levels when it’s all systems go, and me-time is low on your list of priorities. It’s crucial that you take time out for yourself, whether by taking long walks, booking a massage, or indulging in a hot bubble bath.
- Set boundaries, you don’t need to say yes to every social occasion or event. If you’d still like to remain social, but don’t fancy a big night on the tiles, why not suggest a cosy pamper night in, with some face masks instead?
- Set yourself a budget and stick to it. Avoid credit cards and finance options to keep your future expenses and stress at a minimum. Only spend what you are willing and happy to spend. Remember that what matters is how much thought you put into a gift rather than how much it cost. Homemade gifts and joint experiences are truly priceless.
- A lot of stress and anxiety is caused by bad planning. Many people wait until the last minute to start preparing for Christmas, and the inevitable outcome is an overload. The best way to get organised is to make a list. It works for Santa, so there’s no reason it shouldn’t work for you! Take a few minutes to prioritise things, if you think some things aren’t 100% necessary, make life easier and get rid, not only will this prevent future waste, but will take the weight off your shopping bags, and your mind!
- Delegate if you are starting to feel overwhelmed. Christmas is the time to rally together and there is no benefit to struggle by yourself when the tasks can be shared out or done together.
- Make life easier by simply doing less this year. Less parties, less presents, less travelling, less cooking. Do only the things that matter to you and your values. Being more present in the moment and enjoying it is better than more presents.
Dealing with stress on the big day
Christmas Day is meant to be about family. It’s supposed to be about coming together. No one can tell you and your family how to spend your Christmas. There are no rules. The only thing that matters is that everyone feels comfortable. Christmas is first and foremost about enjoying time together with your family. That can mean something different for each family.
For some there may be challenging conversations with the Ex about childcare arrangements, the worries of whether everyone will ‘play nicely’ like how to handle Uncle’s forthright views on Brexit or vaccines for example. For many people, Christmas is a day they dread.
Here are some tips to help you survive the day ….
- Start by considering what’s important to you? What is the one thing that will ensure you start the day the right way or a tradition that’s important to you? Maybe it’s something simple like getting back into bed to have your breakfast, starting the day with a glass of champagne, cooking dinner in your PJs or having your favourite Christmas album on as you get up – the list is endless. Make that decision now and plan it into your day. Prepare the veg the day before like I do. Yes, I cook our Christmas lunch!
- Your mental health is important so if you can avoid something or someone that you know will cause you stress, spend some time beforehand thinking about what you will do instead and then stick to it.
- If you can’t avoid the person who get on your nerves, notice what they are doing that you find ‘grating’ and then ask yourself if what they’re doing is reallya problem for you? (you’ll be surprised how often you ask yourself this question and you decide it’s not such a big deal and you move on). If the answer is yes, then ask yourself: what is it that you struggle with in that person that’s a reflection of yourself? – take a learning (which will allow the negative emotion to dissipate and enable you to take something positive).
If are starting to feel stressed, you can change your emotional state in an instant using the colour breathing technique. Colour breathing helps reduce stress and encourages relaxation. Read more about how to do this here.
- If you are alone this Christmas, plan some enjoyable activities to distract you from dwelling on your situation. This could be a morning jog, a puzzle, or a hot bath and a good book followed by your favourite meal.
- When we get stressed our blood pressure usually goes up and our breathing becomes more rapid and shallow. This can make us feel lightheaded or a host of other unhelpful emotions such as anxiety, frustration, and irritation. The 5 Senses technique can help relieve these symptoms:
- Look For 5 Things You Can See: Notice the decorations on your Christmas tree. Or the colours of your lights. Become aware of the poinsettia plant in the corner. Take your time to really lookand acknowledge what you see.
- Become Aware Of 4 Things You Can Touch:The satisfyingly texture of the ribbons on the presents. Your satin blouse against your neck. If you like, spend a moment literally touching these things. Maybe notice the sensation of gravity itself, or the floor beneath you.
- Acknowledge 3 Things You Can Hear:Don’t judge, just hear. The Christmas carols. The voices in the next room. As well as the space between sounds.
- Notice 2 Things You Can Smell:The turkey cooking. The spices of Christmas scented candles.
- Become Aware Of 1 Thing You Can Taste:The velvety smoothness of chocolate on your tongue, maybe?
Repeat this process as many times as necessary. Take your time and notice how you feel afterward.
A time to reflect
Christmas and New Year is a time for many people to take stock: What has changed in my life since last year? Am I happy? At what point would I like to be at this time next year?
NLP practices can help you gain clarity, stop procrastinating and take steps to becoming the person you want to be. If you want to make that change, get in touch for a free consultation https://beeleev.co.uk/contact-2/