Christmas is only a few days away, and as the holidays draw closer life inevitably becomes busier and more hectic. Though this period should be all about peace, joy, and love, it can actually be very stressful and cause tensions to rise. Between over-busy schedules and overbearing family members; late nights; spending too much money; and more, it can be easy to let the holidays get on top of you and leave yourself exhausted and run down by the time the new year comes around. However, it doesn’t have to be like this. Here are a few tips on how to stay calm and take the stress out of Christmas.
Have a clear plan
The days leading up to and after Christmas can be extremely chaotic, with any number of parties, family visits, last minute presents to buy, and children to entertain. It’s easy to get overwhelmed sometimes when you have a hundred things to do and not a lot of time to do it in. This is why it’s important to have a clear plan in place so that you know exactly what you need to do and when you’re going to do it.
Taking some time each night, or first thing in the morning, to make a checklist of all the things you need to do the next day will help you instantly feel more organised and prepared, and will make the day run much more smoothly.
It’s okay to say no
The week between Christmas and the new year is usually extremely busy due to the number of events that different people have planned. It’s not uncommon to receive many invitations to things that potentially clash or eat into your time to relax, and cause stress and anxiety about letting people down.
However, it’s important to set boundaries and say no to certain things for the sake of your own wellbeing. Though it’s tempting to try and fit everybody and every event in because they all sound like fun and you also don’t want to upset anybody by declining, if you do everything you will burn yourself out. Go through your invitations and schedule them all in, and see what that looks like. If things clash, choose one and politely decline the other.
Make some me-time
It’s important to give yourself some time during the holidays to simply relax and enjoy the peace and quiet of your own company. Though we love our family and our friends, being around them all from dawn until dusk for days at a time can get a bit much, and can lead to tension and people treading on each other’s toes.
Try to set out just a little bit of time each day to do something for yourself, by yourself. This could be a relaxing bath; watching your favourite tv show or reading a good book; or going for a walk or run. You may feel like there’s no time in your busy schedule to fit some alone time in, but even if it’s only thirty minutes, it’s important. This time will give you a little time to catch your breath and think in peace.
Meditation is a perfect activity for that thirty minutes of alone time each day. Mediation helps lower stress and anxiety, and allows us the opportunity to simply sit and focus on our breathing in the peace and quiet, which is important in the chaos of the holidays.
Meditation works best either first thing in the morning or before bed at night. Depending on your schedule, give yourself thirty minutes either when you wake up or before you go to sleep, and take yourself to a quiet space. This practice will help you release any pent-up tension and make you feel relaxed and ready to face the day, or get a good night’s sleep.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed during the holiday period and to lose track of what is really important. When people are tired and under each other’s feet for days at a time, it can cause tensions to form and for us to forget just how much we love and appreciate the time we spend with our loved ones. Taking some time to pause and reflect can help you keep these things in mind. Practicing gratitude is really important and helps us remember how lucky we are in moments that it’s easy to forget. One way to do this is to keep a ‘gratitude journal’, in which you write down what you are grateful for each night. Or another fun way is to go round the table and have each person say one thing they appreciate; this is great for bringing everybody closer together.