To help you enjoy the true spirit of Christmas, here are a few tips to help you reduce the stress that comes with the Holiday season.
- Financial Stress: If the Christmas aftermath includes massive credit card bills that can take months to clear, Christmas can be a time of great stress. Christmas doesn’t have to be a financial headache if you plan ahead. Work out a rough budget of expected Christmas costs as early as possible. This includes ‘hidden’ expenses such as food bills and overseas telephone charges. Save up for Christmas and only spend what you can afford, make gifts more special by making them yourself.
- Christmas Shopping: Make a list of all the gifts you wish to buy before you go shopping. If you wait for inspiration to strike, you could be wandering aimlessly around the shopping centre for hours. Perhaps you could get to know the interests of family and friends to help you when choosing gifts (remember money is also a great gift as it allows people to choose what they want). You can also look to Pinterest for inspiration. Cross people off the list as you buy to avoid duplication. Buy a few extras, such as chocolates, just in case you forget somebody or you have unexpected guests bearing gifts. If possible, do your Christmas shopping early – in the first week of December or even in November. Some well-organised people do their Christmas shopping gradually over the course of the year, starting with the post-Christmas sales. You can even shop online and have them deliver your gifts for you!
- Christmas Lunch: Preparing a meal for family and friends can be enjoyable but tiring and stressful at the same time. If you are cooking lunch at home, delegate tasks. You don’t need to do everything yourself. Consider keeping it simple – for instance, you could always arrange for a ‘buffet’ lunch, where everybody brings a platter. Make a list of food and ingredients needed. Buy as many non-perishable food items as you can in advance – supermarkets on Christmas Eve are generally extremely busy. Write a Christmas Day timetable. For example, 11.30am – put turkey in the oven. You may need to order particular food items (such as turkeys) from your supermarket by a certain date. Check to avoid disappointment. Consider doing your food shopping online. The store will deliver your groceries to your door. Book well in advance if you plan to have lunch at a restaurant. Some restaurants may be fully booked for months before Christmas, so don’t wait till the last minute.
- Relationships: Stress, anxiety, and depression are common during the festive season. If nothing else, reassure yourself that these feelings are normal. Don’t expect miracles. If you and certain family members bicker all year long, you can be sure there’ll be tension at Christmas gatherings. Avoid known triggers. For example, if politics is a touchy subject in your family, don’t talk about it. If someone brings up the topic, use distraction and quickly move on to something else to talk about. Use relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or focusing on your breath to cope with anxiety or tension. Family members involved in after-lunch activities (such as cricket on the back lawn) are less likely to get into arguments. Plan for something to do as a group after lunch if necessary.
- Have Some Fun: Make sure to have time for the things you truly enjoy at Christmas. Do the fun stuff this season provides. Whether that is a favourite holiday movie, special tree lighting, feeding the homeless or trip to the city those activities should be highlights of your Christmas season.
- Remember The Reason. After all the parties, shopping and events; Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus. His teachings and His example are what we should follow. Showing God’s love to others, serving those in need and sharing gifts is what makes Christmas really special.
- Lastly, Get enough sleep and Keep moving: plan for as many early nights as you can. Keeping up your regular exercise routine can give you the fitness and stamina to make it through the demands of the festive season.
Have a blessed season ahead ♥
References: betterhealth.vic.gov.au | Last Christmas