Surviving Christmas. Top tips for beating holiday stress.

It’s supposed to be time of peace and joy but, for many people, surviving the Christmas holiday season can be fraught with difficulties. Fortunately a little forward planning can easily prevent stress from taking its toll and help ensure you have a happy, holiday season.

Holiday stress trigger one: Doing too much.

Is the whirl of Christmas parties, shopping trips and family gatherings getting too much? Then take a moment to slow down and breathe.

Stress busting tips:

  • Learn to say no. If taking on extra responsibility, projects or tasks will make you feel resentful then turn them down. Family, friends or colleagues will understand that you can’t participate in everything.
  • Delegate. If you’re hosting a big family gathering ask each family member to contribute in some way, e.g. bringing the first course, doing the washing up or decorating the table.
  • Be realistic. All too often magazines and television portray images of the perfect Christmas. But life isn’t perfect. Accept that things can and will go wrong.

Holiday stress trigger two: Family gatherings

You haven’t seen the in-laws all year and now you’re together for a whole week. While Christmas is all about creating happy family memories forced togetherness can easily lead to problems.

Stress busting tips:

  • Accept your family for who they are. You may not agree with their viewpoints but try to set differences aside for a more appropriate time.
  • Realise that others may be feeling just as stressed by the holidays as you are.
  • Schedule time apart. Allow people time to do their own thing or organise different activities to suit different members of the family.

Holiday stress trigger three: Finances

It’s easy to get caught up in the commercial hype at this time of year. But overspending will only add to feelings of stress of and worry.

Stress busting tips:

  • Decide on a budget and stick to it. Make a list before you hit the supermarket and plan your Christmas gift buying.
  • If money is tight then find other ways to celebrate the holidays. Home baking, Christmas walks and family movie nights are all low-cost ways to enjoy time together.

Holiday stress trigger four: Loneliness

For people without close family or whose loved ones are far away Christmas can be a particularly sad time of year.

Stress busting tips:

  • Find events in your community that you can attend.
  • Volunteering can be a great way to lift your spirits.
  • Arrange a gathering with friends.

Holiday stress trigger five: Overindulging

Too much food and wine can easily lead to feelings of guilt. Don’t abandon your usual routine just because it’s Christmas.

Stress busting tips:

  • Eat a healthy snack before heading out to a party or gathering. That way you won’t be so tempted to load up on appetisers.
  • Alternate alcoholic drinks with water.
  • Try and stick to your usual exercise routine.
  • Get plenty of sleep.

And if all else fails:

Remember Christmas only comes around once a year. Survive the stress of the holiday season this year and you’ll have a full twelve months to recover.

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