OK well ‘stress free’ might be a bit optimistic, but hopefully by following a few of these useful ideas you can relieve a little bit of the seasonal anxiety….
The build up to the big day can be frantic, the pressures are on to make everything perfect, the decorations, the food, the gifts and of course still look your best for all the festivities, why do we stress ourselves out to create the model Christmas??
Family and friends can have big expectations at this time of year, especially if you are the one who generally hosts Christmas! It’s important to have realistic expectations and not strive to have the most Instagrammable day – it’s not about that! It’s good to keep a perspective on things and realize that it doesn’t matter if the decorations are not perfect or the dinner is at a later time, or family or friends have decided not to stay this year, try and lower expectations of others and particularly yourself!
The subject of money can be stressful at any point of the year, but particularly at Christmas. We have a tendency to over spend to ensure all family and friends have the gifts they want and all the added extras, but is it worth it?! To remove some of the financial stress Christmas can bring why not consider doing things a little differently and limiting the spend on gifts or doing a family Secret Santa. Put the focus of the festive time on quality time with your loved ones, play games, laugh and listen to one another, this can be far more valuable to children and family members than another toy or novelty gift.
As we all know, we don’t get to choose our family, so if you’re not one of the lucky ones who get’s on with yours than spending the Christmas period with them might be pretty hard work! To ease this try and remain calm with any difficult comments or moments and don’t rise to them, defuse the situation and keep the atmosphere easy and upbeat. Christmas isn’t the time to discuss any deep rooted family issues, even after a couple of Christmas drinks it’s best to keep to positive conversations.
If family time is very stressful for you or your partner for any reason than try and keep it to a minimum so you don’t get worked up over it. You can still see family members at some point, but maybe you can pop round for a tea and a mince pie or drop the gifts in rather than spending great lengths of time with them.
For some organisation and forward planning comes naturally, however for others it’s much more of an effort to avoid the last minute panic or getting everything sorted. If this is you, then start by doing little things earlier than usual towards the big day and you will start to feel more in control. Work out what’s important to you and prioritize, that way you will ensure the most important tasks are done and you can relax a little in that knowledge. It can be useful to make a list of everything that needs to be done and then make a plan of how and when you will do each thing on the list. Also allow time for yourself to relax, you don’t want to be burnt out by the 25th!
The key is to keep things simple, it’s a magical time of year, but can be difficult for many reasons, so be kind to one another and don’t strive to have the biggest and the best of everything! Stay within your limitations and accept help when offered, family and friends like to help, so make Christmas a joint effort rather than taking on the whole burden yourself!