Many of us look forward to Christmas as a time to celebrate, spend time with friends and family and a have a break from the normal 9 to 5 of life.
However, this time of year also brings a lot of challenges and many of us find this time of year stressful, exhausting and overwhelming.
Here are our top tips for making Christmas less stressful:
- Don’t expect miracles - just because it’s Christmas Day does not mean your family will suddenly behave differently – if anything tiredness, over excitement and the effects of alcohol may make things worse!
- Keep your expectations low and you will hopefully be pleasantly surprised, not disappointed. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to create the ‘perfect’ Christmas only to have our hopes dashed when the kids bicker, the turkey is overdone and no one wants to play a game of charades. Keeping expectations in line with reality may help you feel less anxious about getting it right.
- Cut corners – looking after a household can be a full time job at Christmas, so where possible consider shortcuts – ready prepared veg or puddings can make a huge difference to how much time you spend in the kitchen and the likelihood is no one else will notice the difference or care!
- Delegate, delegate, delegate – putting the pressure on yourself to do all the list making, shopping, wrapping and cooking can feel overwhelming. Enrol the kids or a partner to help out – ok it might not be done to your standards but who’s to say that is a bad thing?
- Prioritise yourself – with so many other people to think about you might find yourself at the bottom of the list – but if you are stressed out, exhausted and feeling resentful no one will be happy. Seeing your needs on a par with everyone else’s might seem alien but so important to allowing you to enjoy Christmas as well.
- Let go of perfect – with a house full of guests something is bound to go wrong. Instead of worrying about it, try and remember that no one else will care and if it was any other day of the year, neither would you.
- Routine makes us happy – we all draw comfort from the routines of our lives and Christmas is no difference. The solitary dog walk or morning cup of tea in bed does not need to go simply because it is Christmas. Tell guests that is what you are planning to do and invite them to do whatever it is they need to de-stress.
- Take up offers of help – if guests offer to bring a meal or wash up, gratefully accept. They will enjoy feeling useful and it will take some of the pressure off you.
- Decline invites – you don’t have to do it all - if you don’t have the energy to attend social events, politely decline or go for an hour or two. Your hosts will understand.
- Take a breather – the dishwasher can wait, people can help themselves to drinks and is it so bad to let the children play quietly on their games console? Make time to sit quietly and enjoy having your loved ones around you.
Remember – you can’t change other people’s views but you are in control of your own. If you want a stress free Christmas making some changes to how you approach it may be the first step.