Tips for a stress-free Christmas.

People respond to situations differently, what is stressful for one person may be exciting for another. It’s all about how we perceive a situation. Along with moving house, death or relationship breakup,   major illness, and job loss, the expectation you put on yourself or the expectation you feel from others – the list is endless. Christmas can be one of the occasions that can become a challenging time for our stress levels. Where we find ourselves stressed more than usual. Some of the routines that we take for granted can be disrupted by the rushing and preparing for the Christmas festivities and , as a result any disruption of our normal routine can cause stress.

Even though for most people Christmas is a joyous occasion, it can be stressful, Why? Because it can disrupt our normal lifestyle. There could well be expectations, or at least perceived expectations, to create a ‘wonderful Christmas’ with presents and perhaps the most important meal of the year. Christmas Holiday period can also be a time for gatherings with friends, family and relatives which can lead to arguments and falling out especially if a lot of alcohol is consumed.

However, there are a few things we can do to avoid excessive amounts of stress over the Christmas holidays and so make it a time to enjoy and create warm memories to sustain us long after Christmas is past as we wait patiently for the arrival of spring.

Plan.

Leaving all your preparations for Christmas until the last minute can cause unnecessary stress but planning can save you time and money. Making lists for jobs to do, presents to buy and groceries you’ll need helps to organise your thoughts, prevents you forgetting something (or someone) and makes it easier to stick to a budget.

Christmas shopping.

Start your Christmas Shopping early, don’t wait till the last minute try to get to the city early in the day to avoid the hassle of traffic jams and looking for parking, and remember to put all your Christmas shopping in the boot of your car to avoid potential theft.

Sleep Well

Be sure to take adequate amounts of sleep and rest, lack of sleep can make you feel irritable and more prone to feeling stressed.

Make Time for Exercise

Christmas is, for many, a time of excessive eating and drinking and exercise can be easily overlooked.  Exercise is a great way to reduce stress as it burns off the stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline and helps produce mood-enhancing endorphins.  Try going for a walk after dinner as the fresh air and exercise will lift your mood and make you feel better.

Alcohol

Watch your Alcohol intake the celebratory spirit of Christmas and New Year often involves social drinking and although the consumption of alcohol might make you feel more relaxed it is important to remember that alcohol is a depressant and drinking excessive amounts can cause low mood, irritability or potentially aggressive behaviour.

Enjoy the Build up

Give yourself the time to enjoy the build-up often in our hectic pursuit of trying to create the perfect Christmas we don’t take time to enjoy the simple things of taking a trip to town after the shops have closed to look at the Christmas lights and festive windows. Take an opportunity to take some time of silence to enhance your mental and spiritual wellbeing or attend a Carol Service for Instance.

Know When to Stop

Decide when you will stop your Christmas preparations and start to relax and enjoy the holiday.  Work towards and try to stick to this goal, even if it is in the late afternoon on Christmas Eve.  Remember that Christmas is your holiday too.

Remember to that for many people especially the elderly, that at Christmas time loneliness is a real issue. They may not have someone to sit with them in the dinner table; they may not even have a festive table or even people to speak with.

I hope these few tips will help you enjoy the Christmas, and allow you to enter the true Spirit of The Christmas season. When we understand and accept that in life things are not perfect and beautiful as in television shows and films. Often life is unpredictable, and we should focus on things that make us happy.