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Stop that Seasonal Stress


'It's the most wonderful time of the year'... so how come we get stressed about having the time and money to get all the presents in and wrapping them up or getting that perfect present. Maybe you're a parent and you've got the stress of looking after the overexcited kids whilst at the same time cooking the turkey and making the best Christmas dinner, or worrying that you're going to pile on the pounds. Whatever your worry is I've put together some tips on staying calm this Christmas.



  1. Organise yourself
    Make a list of all the people you want* to buy presents for. Maybe do a little mind map with ideas of what they like.
    *I say want instead of need as there is no one saying that you NEED to buy presents for anyone. If they mean that much to you and that feeling is mutual then what gift is more than their time and presence.
  2. Have a budget
    If you're worrying about all that cash going out your bank account this Christmas then set a maximum price for each person you're giving a gift too. Think carefully about what food is needed depending on how many you're hosting dinner for this year, there's no need to get that large turkey if you're only cooking for 3/4, maybe shop around first before you settle for the first one you see too.
  3. Keep calm
    Use festive scented candles, oils, relaxing music with a glass of mulled wine, (or maybe a mulled wine infusion if you're not feeling the alcohol) a hot chocolate or a warming chai latte.  Practise mindful breathing techniques - breath in and out deeply for a few minutes. Hold each inhale for 20 seconds, exhale slowly out of your month and see the difference it makes. Go for walks, this is good for you, not only physically but mentally too. A walk can make such a difference to your mood.
  4. Problems finding that perfect present
    Many people make lists, some people have no idea of what they'd like. I'm going to say something that's a bit controversial here... If you're just buying a present off someone's list then there really isn't much thought going into it, is there? If you're buying someone a present surely they mean a lot to you which means you know them a lot and if so, can't you think of something that you think they'd like? Try to put more thought and effort into it. I don't know about you, but I much prefer surprises and to see how someone has thought about you.
    Also, at the same time, I feel some people think that spending more means more but I'm afraid it doesn't. Money isn't everything, so if you're feeling a bit strapped for that cash this Christmas then don't you worry. It's not about getting your girlfriend the designer handbag she's always wanted or getting your mother that expensive perfume as opposed to the slippers she said she wanted. It's not about the money spent, it's the time spent thinking about that person and being there with them that matters.
  5. Dealing with the overexcited kids.
    Try taking them for a long walk in the fresh air, this will help all the family de-stress and to just be there with each other.
  6. Indulge yourself.
    Christmas is known to be the time that we put on a few pounds right? But why is that a bad thing? If you're worried about that then consider this - aren't you a little happier when you have that delicious Thorntons chocolate, (Or in my case any chocolate that doesn't have milk in!) having that Christmas pudding after the roast turkey and all the trimmings? Turkey actually contains tryptophan which is what our bodies use to make serotonin - the 'happy' brain chemical. If that's not a good enough reason to eat a lot of turkey then I don't know what is!
    Treat yourself. It's one day a year and restricting yourself from those indulging foods isn't good for anyone. Anyway, we're just keeping ourselves a bit warmer in those winter months too!
  7. Being mindful on the Day.
    When you wake up. Breathe. Notice what thoughts you have and how you feel, mentally and physically. Watch as people open their presents from you, notice their eyes and how they react. Notice the bang of the crackers, the laughs, the ripping of the wrapping paper, the smiles on peoples faces, that feeling inside when you get a very thoughtful gift. There's a lot going on at Christmas so just breathe and be there. Be there and in that moment only. Appreciate what and who you're surrounded by this Christmas. Be thankful for the support you have around you and for the food put on your plate.
  8. Most importantly, have fun!
    Don't overthink things or stress about things you cannot change. Be there with your family and friends and make the most of this festive period!

What do you do to beat the stress at Christmas time?

Lucy Steel

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