I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard someone utter the words, “I can’t stand Christmas, it’s just so darn stressful!” I love Christmas and it breaks my heart when I think that some folks are too stressed out to enjoy it.
The end of the year is a very hectic time. There is so much to do in preparation for the holidays. Add interactions with crabby shoppers and distant relatives to the mix and you’ve got yourself a recipe for major stress.
Not to worry, because I’ve put together a few tips to help you enjoy the festive season with less anxiety.
Lower your expectations.
I think that part of the reason that we get so anxious at Christmas time is because we feel pressured to do so many things. We think that we need to cook an incredible meal, choose perfect and meaningful gifts for our loved ones, wrap said presents beautifully and place them under an artfully-decorated Christmas tree. And it’s not enough to just complete these tasks. Oh no! We feel as though we need to execute them perfectly.
You need to be honest with yourself. Unless you’re Nigella Lawson, it’s probable that your Christmas feast might be on the homely side. Your home probably isn’t going to look like it’s been torn from the pages of a magazine and you might pick out one dud gift. And that’s O.K because (and try not to be too shocked by this): you’re human. You can’t do everything perfectly. Just take a deep breath and stop putting so much pressure on yourself to carry out an insane number of holiday tasks with grace and style. Just be content with what you can do.
Cull the chaff
Some of the things we do in the lead up to Christmas are fun, some are dreary and some are downright horrible. Take a look at the things you don’t like doing at Christmas. Do you hate going to the office Christmas party? Do you find yourself going nuts trying to find a suitable Secret Santa present?
If there’s anything on your holiday agenda which makes you cringe, decide whether it’s truly necessary to do it. If it’s non -essential then opt out. This will reduce your stress levels and leave more time for the things you actually want to do.
Delegate your yucky-but-essential Christmas tasks. Get your gifts wrapped in-store instead of struggling with tape and paper at home. Book into a restaurant on Christmas Day so you don’t have to lift a finger in the kitchen. Find a way to make this time easier on yourself by spreading the work around. That way, everyone pitches in and there’s more time for fun things.
Focus on the silver lining.
At this time of year we have to do some things we don’t like. Such as suffering through a painful Christmas lunch with your dull aunt or working extended shifts and being berated by cranky customers. When you’re stuck in one of these situations, try to put a positive spin on it.
Even though your aunt might have made lunch painful, focus on the delicious meal you just ate. Working longer hours will give you more money to spend on Christmas presents and fun. Try to stay positive when you wish you could cut and run.
Fake it til you make it
We all get a bit grouchy around the holidays. Our feet ache from tramping through crowded stores and we’re worn out from entertaining the family. Even if you do feel grumpy, don’t take it out on others. Pop a smile on your face and aim to be pleasant to those around you. You don’t have to force yourself to become the Christmas Cheer Fairy, but at least aim to be polite at this time of year.
Live in the moment.
Don’t miss out on important moments because your mind is occupied by an ever-growing to-do list. Take some time out from your work to enjoy a Christmas film with your lover, visit Santa with your children or munch a slice of Christmas cake with your bestie. Focus on the awesome times at hand and cherish those moments of fun and togetherness. Don’t let yourself become so overwhelmed by what is yet to be done that you forget to appreciate the amazing things that are happening right now.
Do you stress out at Christmas time? What are your best anti-stress tips?