The Christmas period can be a particularly stressful time of year for a lot of people. Many of us get slammed at work, worry about how we are going to pay for christmas presents and hold on to the thought of the little freedom we will feel getting a few days off at the end of the year. It frustrates me how many triggers there are for stress in this system and the holiday period is just one of them. For example, there is so much pressure put on us to buy wonderful gifts, splash out on a New Years trip away and try to lose as much weight as possible (until we stuff our faces full of delicious goodness only to put it all back on again), there is even pressure to make a New Years resolution!
Obviously, not all of these elements are bad and many of us really do enjoy this time of year. But, no doubt some of you reading this will have felt the unnecessary holiday stress at some point.
The good news is: We can implement some changes into our routine to help reduce our stress levels.
Outlined below are a few tips and tricks you could try to reduce your stress levels over the ‘silly season’.
1. Before you go Christmas shopping make a conscious effort to plan your presents in advance.
This can be easily done by writing a list of the specific presents you will buy and a budget for each person. If you are unable to decide on what to get someone in advance – not to worry! Even planning a maximum spending limit will help you to be more specific in your shopping and avoid a bunch of unnecessary purchases. Hopefully, this tip will help you to shop more mindfully and eliminate the unnecessary stress of overspending. (I learnt this tip from the incredible mindfulness mentor Rachael Kabel).
2. Buy your presents online.
There is nothing worse than heading to a busy mall or shopping street around Christmas, bumping shoulders with a bunch of people, feeling pressured for time and racing around from shop to shop! I feel overwhelmed even thinking about it… Shopping online is definitely a wonderful alternative! The only thing is you do have to do a little planning to avoid your items arriving late!
3. Don’t do presents.
How often have your family members told each other they will not do presents this year, only to find on the day they have completely gone back on their word and brought presents for one another?! Giving presents is a lovely way to show you care for someone but at the same time the stress we take on when trying to buy presents isn’t always worth it. I believe it shouldn’t be that hard to avoid the hustle and bustle all together and have a beautiful ‘no presents’ family day instead. I understand this is a hard routine to break but it is possible!
4. Slow down.
How about going away for the whole silly season? Maybe you can go camping? Or, if it’s not too stressful travelling abroad? Wouldn’t it be nice to completely forget about the season and just enjoy being on a holiday? If you can not or do not want to go away then there are definitely ways to practise slowing down.
For example, one day you could put up the tree, the next day decorate it and the next day wrap a few presents?
I know it can be hard to slow down when everything seems to be speeding up, but it is possible. Not everything needs to be done at once! I encourage you to set a to do list in your diary, or calendar. Write down specific achievable tasks per day and avoid overloading yourself.
5. Look after yourself and others.
This is what the holiday season is all about.
Maybe you have lost a loved one during the year and the holidays serve as an unkind reminder that your loved one is no longer here. If so, take it easy. Support yourself and your loved ones and appreciate the wonderful memories you have of them. You don’t have to force yourself to be happy just because it’s what the rest of society is doing.
If you are feeling sad for any reason or overwhelmed please do take time for yourself. Breathe a little. Maybe practise meditation and some ‘me’ time (If you would like some examples of what to do in your ‘me’ time please head over to my blog post by clicking here).
I really hope these tips will be of some use to you as we come into this crazy time of year. Put yourself first and notice how you’re feeling. There is no need to add stress to our already stressful lives! Good luck and hopefully this festive season is as stress free as it can be!