Although many people look forward to Christmas and enjoy parts of it, there are many people who find it so busy and stressful that it feels chaotic. This can be especially true for busy parents who might be juggling jobs and the numerous demands of family life, having a Christmas they enjoy as well can feel a stretch too far. So here are some simple ways you can make sure Christmas really is time of peace and good will not chaos and stress.
A Little Planning Goes a Long Way
Everyone approaches Christmas differently in terms of when they start shopping and preparing. But like everything in life a bit of preparation usually helps. Think about what causes you the greatest stress, is it the present shopping or the food shopping or even arranging the travel or packing if you are going away. When you have identified you r own individual stress point then prepare for it so that can be one stress relieved or at least lessened. If you aren’t sure and it feels like the whole lot is just too much then pick any one area and get that planned, not necessarily all done, but it can feel a relief just to decide what you will buy as presents or eat on Christmas day and know when you need to order or buy it. Making a note of things is another way to take the stingout of the stress, as often you’ll feel more organised.
Aim For Good Not Perfect
There is so much hype about getting everything just right, perfect food, decorations, table dressing, gift wrapping - even outfits. Instead of getting sucked into this, think about everyone having a good time, that incudes you, rather than striving for perfection. When that idea is embedded then it’s ok to buy rather than make mince pies if you lack the time or inclination to make your own. Let go of the rules you think exist and let yourself off the hook - you will be much more relaxed and happy as parents and children are much more likely to enjoy Christmas if you are not stressed and fraught.
Decide What’s Important For You
If there are particular things you like to do at Christmas then make sure you allow time for these. If a church service is important then make sure you get time to go, if it’s entertaining folk that you love then plan that in advance and if it’s staying in pyjamas all day watching movies then make sure you get to do that. You wan to look back on happy memeories not feel resentful for all the stress, made worse if you didn’t fit in the things you wanted.
Don’t be Afraid to Say ‘no’
I talk to a lot of people who say they always end up doing things they don’t want to do at Christmas. I accept we all have responsibilities and maybe a sense of duty but actually it is important that you enjoy Christmas in the way you want to. So don’t assume you need to say yes. Just because you have done something for the last 10 years doesn’t mean you need to keep doing it. Remind yourself that by saying ’no’ to some things you can say ’yes’ to others so maybe this Christmas it is time to be assertive to have the kind of Christmas you want.
Your Time is Valuable
It is important to make time for you and to do the things you want. But also to remember that your time is important for others. If you have children then what they want is time with you so try to structure things so that you can give them that and not spend all Christmas morning in the kitchen when they are bursting to share new toys and games with you. I know several families who have the main meal on Christmas Eve so they can play with children during the day, simplify the meal or have it later in the day to make sure you have time to spend with the people you love.
Don’t Ignore Your Stress
If Christmas is stressful for you, then start to manage that now by developing strategies to deal with the stress. Identify what helps you, a long bath, a walk, locking yourself away with a book for a while, chatting to a mate or just taking a few deep breaths. Prevention is usually better than cure so try doing that even if you aren’t particularly stressed to build good habits. If you feel you tension rising then don’t ignore it, even if it means cancelling something or being a bit late for something, take the time to take care of yourself and manage your stress.