Christmas is meant to be the ‘most wonderful time of the year’, a time of celebration with presents, socialising, treats, food and drinks, music and bright lights, but for many, this simply isn’t the case. It can be a time when stress levels rise due to high expectations to impress, obligations to socialise and demands to spend more money than you have and often there can be tension and conflict as you are forced to be with people you don’t particularly like. In the latest article from Becoming Aware, we look at some strategies to limit the stress involved so that you do have a jolly festive season and one that is filled with goodwill to all.
Set A Budget For Spending
Christmas is a time when we are prone to overspending and it’s not just about the money we spend on presents and gifts. There are the added costs of food and drinks, travel, entertaining and possibly overseas phone calls. This can sometimes lead to January credit card bills being colossal.
· Make a list of the gifts you have to buy and stick to it
· Cross people off the list, once you have bought their present
· Look for bargains on the Internet
· Be organised and buy early so you don’t rush into buying expensive gifts
· Write a list for supermarket shopping and don’t stray from it
· FaceTime or Skype family members
Lower Your Expectations
We’ve all seen the movies about the perfect Christmas with all of the perfect family sitting around the perfectly decorated table with perfectly cooked turkey at exactly the right time and the children behaving perfectly. And it’s snowing! Now, let’s be honest, it’s unlikely that this is going to happen, so lower your expectations to be more realistic. Set about creating the Christmas that suits you and your family.
Look At Things Positively
Try to lighten up and if something starts to irritate or irk you, laugh it off and put a positive spin on it. And remember, Christmas isn’t the time to solve family problems and issues – leave them to another time. If you do have to spend Christmas with a family member that you don’t particularly like, limit the amount of time with them and try not to let them get under your skin.
Avoid The Hype
It is a time when we seemingly can get whipped up into a frenzy, as we are bombarded by all of the commercialisation surrounding this particular time of year. So don’t forget to look after yourself by having enough rest and sleep and eating healthily and exercising. Spend time reading a book or having a relaxing massage or spa treatment. Try to be in shape for Christmas, both mentally and physically.
Get Rid Of The Guilt
Christmas doesn’t have to develop into a predictable pattern and be the same every year. For many, the festive season is full of ‘must dos’, ‘have to dos’ and ‘should dos’. Look at things that aren’t working at Christmas time and change them. If you are doing all the cooking, ask for some help from the rest of the family and get everybody to muck in. You will find a little delegation goes a long way, as well as discussing with others what they want regarding meal plans and timings. If the Christmas present buying is getting out of hand, try to limit it by suggesting it’s only the children that have presents or everyone gets 1 present only.
· Prepare and plan in advance
· Spread events out – it’s OK to do things in November and January
· Set yourself a budget
· Set achievable goals
· Share the load – allocate and delegate
· Take in some fresh air by going for a walk
· Drink and eat in moderation
It really is impossible to be perfect and to have the perfect Christmas, so don’t try. You are never going to please everybody. Forget ‘must dos’ and ‘should dos’ and just focus on the positives of Christmas. Don’t go down the path of ‘what if everything goes wrong’, think more about ‘what if everything goes right’!
Christmas stress doesn’t have to be inevitable and it is avoidable.
What To Do Next
Karen Hoad from Becoming Aware is a qualified and experienced Emotional Healing & Wellbeing Practitioner. She has vast experience in mental, emotional and physical health issues and works with people to release emotions. If Christmas and the New Year have just been a bit too much for you, Karen can provide the help and support you may need. Call Karen on 07766 427966 for a free without obligation chat or email firstname.lastname@example.org