Tips to Reduce Stress During Christmas Time.
Christmas can be a stressful time for many people and families. Buying gifts, the pressure of last minute shopping, financial situations and the heightened expectations of getting the family together on one night can both frustrate and stress many. We give you some practical suggestions to help you reduce your Christmas Stress and make this jolly season just that little bit more bearable and enjoyable for you.
The Christmas aftermath for many means massive credit card bills and financial headaches. Plan beforehand.
- Work out a rough budget of expected Christmas costs as early as possible, including hidden expenses like food bills and overseas phone charges.
- Calculate how much disposable income you have between now and Christmas. Make a certain percentage of this dedicated to covering your expected Christmas costs.
If you have a large circle of extended family or friends to buy gifts for, it can be costly. Reduce the stress and cost for everyone and suggest an alternative way for your family and friends to give presents. For example suggest:
- Buying presents only for the children.
- Having a Kris Kringle – a popular game where everyone draws a name out of a hat and buys a present only for that person without them knowing who bought it for them.
- Set a limit on the cost of presents for each person. For example, everyone knows they are only allowed to spend $20 maximum on a gift.
According to recent Roy Morgan Research, around 60% of Australians dislike Christmas shopping, with just 20% planning their shopping expeditions and the majority of us (75%) often returning home without a single purchase in our efforts. Reduce shopping stress by:
- Making a list of all the gifts you wish to buy before you go shopping, don’t wait for inspiration to strike you while you walk around the shops aimlessly for hours.
- Cross people off the list as you buy to avoid duplication.
- Buy a few extras, such as chocolates, in case you forget somebody or have an unexpected guest bearing you a gift.
- Do your Christmas Shopping early – in the first week of December or even November. Some well-organised people even do their Christmas Shopping AFTER Christmas, to get the boxing day sales and be ready for the next year (now that’s dedication).
- Buy your gifts by mail catalog or over the internet. Some companies also offer gift-wrapping and post them out for a small additional fee.
The Christmas Lunch or Dinner
Preparing a meal can be enjoyable but tiring after all the above efforts. Avoid stress through:
- If you are cooking lunch at home, delegate tasks. You don’t need to put all the pressure on yourself.
- Consider keeping the recipe simple – arrange a buffet lunch where everybody brings a platter perhaps.
- Make a list of food and ingredients needed and buy as many non-perishable food items in advance.
- Write a Christmas Day timetable for that day’s cooking times and deadlines.
- Consider doing your food shopping online, with stores delivering your groceries to your door. Keep in mind this option is more expensive then visiting the supermarket.
- Book in advance if you plan to have a lunch at a restaurant to avoid disappointment.
Stress, anxiety and depression are common during the festive season. Reassure yourself these feelings are normal and you are not alone. Stress reduction strategies include:
- Don’t expect miracles. If you and certain family members bicker all year long, then there may likely be tension at the Christmas gathering.
- Avoid known triggers. If politics or religion is a touchy subject in your gathering, don’t talk about it, and if someone does, use distraction and change the topic.
- Relax – deep breathing and focusing on your breathing rhythm to help cope with anxiety.
- Family members involved in after-lunch activities such as backyard cricket are less likely to get into arguments. Plan a game for people to get into.
- Avoid ‘self-medicating’ your stress with drugs, alcohol and cigarettes.
The Little Extras
Other ways to reduce the stress:
- Write up a Christmas card list and keep it in a safe place year after year.
- Plan to write your Christmas cards early in December.
- Overseas mail at Christ time takes longer to arrive. Arrange to send cards or presents in the first half of December.
- For great savings, buy Christmas necessities at Post-Christmas sales in time for next year.
General Health and Well-Being
Your health and well-being is important.
- Try to be moderate – too much food and alcochol is harmful.
- Drink driving is a real danger. Do not drink drive.
- Get enough sleep.
- Keep moving – don’t forget regular exercise or you’ll definitely be struggling post Christmas.
Where To Get Help
- Your doctor
- Financial planner
- Your local community health centre
- Save a percentage of your disposable income throughout the year to provide a ‘nest egg’ for Christmas expenses.
- Make a list of all gifts and food you wish to buy and shop early.
- Don’t expect miracles – if some relationships don’t get along all year long, there may likely be tension at Christmas.
Support Group Information
Go to More information for support groups, related links and references.
With thanks to original source for this article Better Health Channel of Victoria. Also thanks to Anxiety Recovery Centre Victoria.
Featured Image via Geograph