It’s the most wonderful time of the year …. or is it? After last year’s restricted Christmas celebrations, many of us are planning on going all out this year and making up for lost time. Seeing friends and loved ones and spreading festive cheer and goodwill – what’s not to love?
For some people, not much.
Christmas, with all the magical expectations that it brings, can actually bring a whole new level of stress to our already busy lives. The pressure of having so much to do, to buy and to organise can combine to create a situation where Christmas just isn’t the fantastic rest that we’d hoped for. The BusinessLodge team have put together a guide of common festive stress triggers – with advice on how to combat them.
Focus on what you can control
There is so much uncertainty in the current climate, and for the more organised and structured among us, this can bring real anxiety. While there is no dispute that it can be disconcerting when the pandemic guidance changes from one day to the next, we’d advise you to put your energy into thinking about the things you can control. For example, make sure you order all the festive treats your family enjoy, organising a viewing schedule for everyone’s favourite films and planning a walk to see the local Christmas lights.
The rule of threeFeel like you have a never ending to do list? Christmas can get like that – which can really add to the pressure. To combat this, stick to the rule of three, where you only ever focus on the top three things that need to be done in any particular day Sure, you will always have a running list – but the stress sets in when it seems to become endless. By putting all your energy in to just a few items, chances are they are more likely to get done, leaving you feeling like you’ve accomplished something.
Have an early night
You’re probably thinking an early night …. but it’s Christmas! At this time of year we can feel obliged to say yes to every social invitation that comes our way – but turning up to every “do” can leave us feeling burnt out and over tired, which, when you think about it, defeats the very purpose of going out in the first place.
Treat yourself to a few early nights – a bath and a book will do wonders, and help you replenish your energy to party again the next night – where guidelines allow!
Switch off the socials
Why is it that everyone else is enjoying a Christmas straight out of a Hollywood movie, while you’re surrounded by chaos and arguing children?
Because they only let you see the best bits, that’s why!
Social media can be great – but if you are already feeling under par, it can make you feel rotten – inadequate and completely fed up. We’d advise you to have a break from social media over the Christmas period if it’s likely to add to your stress, and keep in mind that the majority of people are in the same boat.
The best present is to be just that
Most people will tell you that Christmas is all about family – but if we are really honest with ourselves, how much time do we really spend with them over the holidays? We’re not simply talking all being at home together – we’re talking about being PRESENT with them. This can mean putting down your devices, coming off social media and recognising that the jobs can wait. Consider each member of your family and spend a little time with them, doing something they really love, while you gift them your full and undivided attention.
Remember it’s your Christmas too – and you have as much right to enjoy it and have some downtime as everyone else. You don’t HAVE to do it all, buy it or organise it all! The way to ensure you get to do this is to set some firm boundaries. This might mean:
- Saying no to social engagements
- Ensuring that everyone mucks in around the house
- If you have small children, teaching that that you need “me time”
If you let everyone know what your boundaries are from the off, we think you’ll get the balance just right.
Nourish your body
We can all agree that festive food is just the best! Not only does it taste delicious, it’s part of a ritual and tradition that we pass down each generation, and something that we look forward to all year.
Unfortunately, rich, sugary food isn’t always the best for keeping healthy stress levels. It can make you feel sluggish and bloated, and while alcohol is fun at the time, the next day it can leave us feeling tired and dehydrated.
Eating a balanced and healthy diet is key to helping our bodies to manage the physiological changes caused by stress. So, have your treats and enjoy them – but make sure you are also eating plenty of fruit and veg, drinking lots of water and eating at a regular time.
The twinkly lights of the Christmas tree, the warm fire, delicious smells from the kitchen – It’s not surprising we want to cocoon ourselves in our homes at this time of year. However, it you are feeling tired or overwhelmed, getting outside in the fresh air is just the thing to get those endorphins going, clear your head, and get your major organs functioning.
So there you have it – the BusinessLodge Guide to a helping yourself feel less stressed and overwhelmed this Christmas. Have a wonderful time!