Christmas may be a time of festive cheer and celebration, but it’s also stressful for so many reasons. The pressure of living up to expectations, particularly if you’ve been charged with cooking that extra epic Christmas lunch, can get the better of us. Making sure everyone has a happy time after all is a big undertaking, which can wreak havoc with your stress levels.
Limiting stress over the festive period is possible however, leaving you to keep calm and carry on with having the best Christmas ever. Here we share our top tips for having a very merry, stress-free Christmas.
Set realistic expectations
The main issue most households face is setting their expectations too high for the festive period. The perfect Christmas doesn’t exist, but knowing what’s important to you and your family, and setting realistic expectations accordingly is what really matters.
By setting realistic expectations you can ease the pressure on yourself and all those around you, and truly enjoy the festive season without the risk of disappointment.
With a little organisation, you can keep Christmas related stresses to a minimum. It all starts with the dreaded Christmas shop, which can leave you flustered and financially bruised. Start shopping as early as you can to avoid any last minute trips.
Take steps to avoid overspending to ensure money woes don’t get you down this Christmas. Making a gift list (and sticking to it), starting your gift shopping as early as you can to spread the cost can also be helpful and drawing up a budget are all great ideas for keeping hold of more cash and keeping a cool head in the run up to Christmas.
The preparations shouldn’t end there. Make food and lifestyle preparations ahead of time to avoid the Christmas rush. Check your party calendar and plan your wardrobe long before the event comes along. Prepare Christmas food as much as you can the night before and draw up a step by step guide to ensure cooking your festive banquet is a breeze.
Don’t try to do Christmas alone. Enlist assistance from every able family member and friend play in creating a Christmas to remember.
Make healthier choices
Looking after your health shouldn’t go out the window just because it’s Christmas. With an increase in short-term stress, our eating and drinking habits are the first things to suffer as Dean Burnett, author of The Idiot Brain, discussed in this article from The Guardian:
“Given how stressful Christmas can be, it’s no wonder people quickly resort to stress-reducing acts, namely eating rich food and drinking alcohol. ‘tis the season, after all. It’s true that high-calorie foods reduce feelings of stress. Ditto alcohol. But in both cases, it’s a very short-term fix. Our bodies seem to actually store more fat when we’re stressed, and alcohol consumption can quickly cross the line from ‘pleasant’ to ‘not pleasant’, leaving us bloated, hung-over, miserable and with a worse state of overall health than when we started. All things that add up to more stress.”
Making healthier choices with your food and drink doesn’t mean sticking to a diet of veggies over Christmas. Simply starting the day with a healthy breakfast, hydrating throughout, limiting caffeine, and snacking healthily at regular intervals is enough to give your body the essentials it needs to take on every festive drama and enjoy every festive moment.
Take time out
Give yourself the best gift this festive period by taking some time out from your Christmas countdown. Meditation is a great way to gather your thoughts, rebalance and connect with what the festive season is really all about.
While taking the afternoon off to do something fun, and even unrelated to the festivities, will ensure relationships are helped, not hindered, by the challenges that Christmas can bring.
Christmas is a time to cherish everyone around you. Make sure you do just that by spending some quality time together, and living, laughing and loving this holiday season.