How to have a stress free festive season

Is it just me or does there really seem to be an extra level of excitement and anticipation this year as we head in to the festive season?

Last Christmas was a bit of a damp squib as many of us were forced to have smaller celebrations than usual away from loved ones.

Christmas is usually a very stressful time of year for many of us anyway. And, after last year there may be higher hopes to have a ‘most wonderful time of the year’ this year, which can mean even more stress than usual.

So here are six (Christmas tree) top tips to help you build resilience, manage stress and keep calm over the festive period.

I like to think of them as my gifts to you. But don’t save them as stocking fillers make a note of them now and use them as and when you need them.

    1)   Great expectations… NOT!

With all the excitement and hype it’s easy to fall in the trap of putting pressure on yourself to create the perfect Christmas, which is impossible to do. Some people even think they have to feel a certain way.

By all means get in to the festive spirit and if you can’t that’s ok just take it one day at a time.

    2)    Get a wiggle on

In other words, MOVE! Go for a walk every day in day light. The fresh air will do you good because you’ll be feeding more oxygen to the brain. Also, sunlight and increased blood flow will boost the production of your serotonin and endorphins, the body’s natural feel good hormones, and that means improved well-being and mood.

    3)   Absent friends

Christmas can be a sad time for many of us who have lost loved ones. It can be tough but they wouldn’t want us to be sad. I lost my parents many years ago and every day I think about them and when I do I smile. Why? Because of the happy memories I have. They would want us to be happy so celebrate their memory in some way. My father died 22 years ago and I still display the last Christmas card he gave me. It’s a little battered now but I don’t care the memories create a warm feeling for me and I feel grateful I had such wonderful parents.

    4)    Take a mini festive break

If you notice yourself going in to overwhelm or feeling stressed do your best to find a space where you’ll be on your own just for a few minutes. You might stand outside n the fresh air (remember to wrap up warm if it’s cold) or go in a spare room or even lock yourself in the smallest room of the house. Wherever you go do two to four minutes of deep breathing. If you don’t know a deep breathing exercise you’re welcome to use the one I use click here.

    5)   Spread the joy… DELEGATE!

According to a YouGov report a couple of years ago statistically speaking Christmas is more stressful for women than men. Whether that’s still true today I don’t know. If you’re the one who’s expected to do most of the work, like preparing the dinner and everything else, don’t. Delegate, delegate, delegate. Get your partner involved with the planning, better still involve everyone else who’ll be spending Christmas with you. Write a list of tasks and delegate them making sure each person knows exactly what they have to do and by when.

    6)    Budget then judge it 

I mentioned this in my e-bulletin last year and it’s so important I’ve chosen to mention it again. Many people overspend at Christmas and end up in debt (or a bigger debt) in the New Year. Decide how much money you can really afford to spend. Set a budget then for every item just judge it. Ask yourself should you really spend that much on it? Is there a less expensive alternative? Note I said ‘less expensive’ and not ‘cheap’, there is a difference.

For more hints, tips and inspiration to relieve the stress at this time of year read my blog here.

Well that’s it from me for this year. Whatever you celebrate I wish you and yours everything you wish yourself over this festive period. From my home to yours John merry Chrimblemas 🎅

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