Although Christmas is such an exciting time of year, it’s easy to get caught up in a mad rush trying to get everything done in time for the big day. The panic of needing to tick off everything on your ever-growing to-do list, combined with parties, visiting family and friends, last minute shopping and gift wrapping can easily lead to a build-up of stress, especially when combined with the usual daily stressors such as work and home life.
At such a busy time of the year, it’s more important than ever to make sure you look after yourself especially well in order to stay healthy, get enough sleep and be able to truly enjoy the festive season.
Here are some easy ways to deal with Christmas stress.
Write it down
Write a list of everything you need to do. Putting things down on paper helps to reduce the mental chatter in your head that can make you feel panicked about how much you think you have to do. Put tasks in order of importance, and try to work out which ones need to be done now and which ones can wait until later. Most importantly – be realistic. Do you really need to do everything on your list before Christmas? For some reason we have a tendency to make extra work for ourselves during the festive season. It feels great to tick off a to-do list but don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t manage to get everything done in time. If you have work or other deadlines, make sure you plan your other things around them so there are no disruptions.
Don’t take on more than you can manage; accept that you cannot do everything. Don’t be afraid to ask others for help. Could your partner sort presents for their side of the family instead of you having to do it all as usual? Can someone else help you to cook Christmas dinner? Would doing the Christmas food shop online make your life a little easier? If there’s a task you hate doing and it’s stressing you out because you feel you don’t have time to do it, could you ask someone to do it for you? Whether that’s wrapping presents, writing cards or cleaning the house, ask a friend, family member or even a professional to help you out so you have more free time to enjoy the festivities.
When you are extremely busy and running on adrenaline it is easy to get a quick energy fix from sugary drinks, snacks and processed foods, but this is often followed by a dip which can make you feel exhausted and irritable. This is especially true at Christmas, when there are boxes of chocolates and mince pies being handed out left, right and centre. Although festive treats are part of the joy of Christmas, make sure you keep the rest of your diet balanced to ensure you stay feeling your best. Choose complex carbohydrates (wholegrains) to slowly release energy, and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, pulses, nuts and seeds. It’s important to stay hydrated too, especially if you know you’ll be having a few mulled wines at festive events.
Get More Sleep
Aim for at least eight hours a night to help you recharge. An hour before you go to bed, do something relaxing such as reading, meditation or having a bath. Write down any worries or tasks you need to do tomorrow and try to forget about them. Relax each muscle group in your body and breathe slowly and gently.
Get Some Me Time
Make sure you schedule some me time during the festive season – it will help you to relax and feel rebalanced. A brisk walk will burn off excess adrenaline, and the clean country/beach air will make you feel revitalised. Use some calming festive essential oils such as frankincense and orange in your oil burner or aromatherapy diffuser jewellery, listen to soothing music to help calm your mind and body, or book a massage, reflexology or spa treatment to rebalance and ground you.
Most importantly, try not to focus on making sure everything is perfect; relax, have fun and enjoy the magic of Christmas!