How to Avoid Christmas Stress
“Christmas, children, is not a date… it’s a state of mind”. Those are the words of American author Mary Ellen Chase, and oh how right she was! Unfortunately, for a massive number of us, this state of mind is anything but happy and festive. In fact, many of us start to feel stressed, worn down, anxious and even downright miserable at this time of year. It’s even been said that Christmas is as stressful as running a marathon!
The truth is that we don’t have to be stressed or miserable at Christmas. But we are. And there’re many, many reasons why we start feeling this way as the trees start to go up. Harvard University over in the States actually did some research into this, and found that there are three big factors that can contribute to festive stress: financial demands, family dynamics, and the struggle to maintain healthy habits. And by focusing on these aspects, we can give ourselves the chance of a holly jolly Christmas… without the stress.
‘What is Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more’. If the Grinch of all people can understand the true meaning of Christmas, then surely we should be able to, too! Christmas smiles aren’t created by money; they’re created by making memories, and making memories doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. There are lots of ways to save at Christmas, including making gifts like candles and cookies instead of paying for costly brands.
We often look at Christmas as a time to make other people happy… which is actually a really nice way to approach the season. But here’s something that a lot of people forget: It’s YOUR Christmas, too. If family is a big facilitator of stress, try to limit the time you spend in these stressful situations, and remove yourself if you need to. Even though it’s Christmas, it’s still OK to say no. But most of all, try to be empathetic at this time of year. Remember… Auntie Joan may be struggling with her own Christmas stress…
A lot of us thrive when we have a daily routine, and that’s because it adds predictability to our day. We feel comfortable because we know what the expect… and then Christmas comes and throws all that out the window! With time off work and a cupboard full of mince pies, it’s normal for schedules to go a bit skew-whiff. There’s no magic solution, but it can help to try and keep your routine as close as possible to normal. Go to bed, wake up, and eat at the same time… it may be what you need.
And before we know it, it’s January, and we don’t have another chance to celebrate the joy of the festive season for nearly 12 months! Don’t let this years’ holly jolliness pass you by. Instead, use these tips to avoid the Christmas stress, and enjoy the holidays.
All that’s left for me to say is a big Merry Christmas to you!