Between the presents to wrap, the parties to get to, and visiting family members to feed, the festive season can feel like a never-ending to do list. Take an afternoon to plan out your commitments and when you’ll get all those things done by.
That way, instead of facing the impossible demand of doing everything in the last few days before Christmas, you’re spreading out the tasks you can get a jump on, like gift wrapping. You’ll be grateful on Christmas Eve when it’s ticked off your list of things to think about.
Of course, things don’t always go according to plan, but feeling like you’re a step ahead of the game already will help the unexpected feel for manageable.
Christmas and alcohol go hand in hand. From the work party, to the friend’s open house, to a festive drink with neighbours, it can feel like there’s barely a day in December when you haven’t had a glass of something warm and mulled or chilled and sparkling in your hand.
Unfortunately, although alcohol feels like the fast way to de-stress after a day of festive chores, it can actually exacerbate feelings of stress and anxiety the next day. Try to limit the amount you’re drinking as much as possible; if you’ve got a particularly long to-do list for the day or week ahead, avoid drinking alcohol at all.
The festive season usually brings a slew of invitations. And between the parties and hosting the family, there’s little time to spend in the comfort of your own home.
But it’s unrealistic to expect to get everything done for Christmas and attend all the events you’ve been invited. It’s ok to say no to the things that are more avoidable. If going to your workmate’s sister’s open house three days before Christmas means missing your last free evening at home before the in-laws descend on you, just skip it. No-one will think less of you for doing so.
That enormous pile of things to do for Christmas doesn’t need to all be done by you. Give your family members a few jobs to be responsible for. Sure, your six-year-old might not do the best job at wrapping up your mum’s present, but the fact that her darling grandchild tried will make the present all the more special.
If there’s a limit to how much work you can offload on to family members, remember you can pay people to do the hard graft for you. Many department stores and online retailers offer to wrap items you buy there, or see if your nearest shopping centre is offering a gift wrapping service for charity this year.
If cooking at Christmas fills you with dread, invest in some supermarket ready prepared staples roast potatoes, pre-glazed and roasted ham, gravy that you pour in a pan to heat up. You’ll save hours.
Being constantly switched on is a big contributor to our rising stress levels, so during a particularly triggering time, like the festive season, taking regular tech breaks is important for keeping yourself sane.
Promise yourself a couple of hours each evening when you’ll turn off your phone and tablet and focussing all your attention on what you’re doing, whether that’s watching TV, having dinner with your family, or reading a book. See everyone else’s Instagrams of their perfectly decorated tree won’t help you relax.
A house full of extended family plus a little too much excitement, sugar and (age depending) alcohol makes for a simmering pot of emotions moments away from boiling over. Tempers fray at Christmas, and not just the children’s.
Try and get out of the house at least once a day, to diffuse those inevitable family tensions. Go for a walk together – that bit of exercise will help lift everyone’s mood. Or if that won’t fly with the family, go out for a meal somewhere – being in public should measure everyone’s behaviour.
Christmas often feels like a whirlwind of doing things for other people, but reserving some time for yourself to chill out and recharge your batteries is essential if you want a stress-free Christmas.
Plan a quiet couple of hours with no festive jobs or events on the agenda, and do something you know helps you feel less stressed. Maybe go for a long walk listening to a podcast, run yourself a warm bath with some aromatherapy oils and a good book, or do some yoga for an hour.
Want to really de-stress this party season? Treat yourself to some me-time at your nearest spa thanks to our spa vouchers.
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