It’s day 2 of our 12 Days of Christmas Special Blog Series.
Today we are talking about stress and how to stay sane over the holiday season
We are well into the festive season with just over a week until the big day.
There is no wonder they call it the silly season, with thousands of people stressing about gifts to buy, organising food, travel arrangements, tidying up end of year work, Christmas functions and more!
It is easy to get stressed out and go insane over the holiday season.
Here’s our top 10 tips on how to reduce the stress and stay sane over the holiday period.
1. Plan and Prioritise – Having a game plan is a must in a time where there is a list as long as santa’s to complete.
Dedicate certain days to particular tasks to make the most of your time eg Saturday gift shopping, Tuesday food shopping. Plan what you need to do before you do it, eg write a shopping list. You are more likely to get stressed out and frustrated if you go in without a game plan as you will be easily overwhelmed. Prioritising is also your friend. Order what you need to do in priority order to ensure the important jobs are done first and things that don’t necessarily need to be done get pushed to the end. Think “Is it urgent?”, “Is it important?” “Is it just something that would be nice to be done?” or is it something that can be left or delegated? All of your to do list items can be categorised into one of these 4 categories.
2. Delegate – Some of you out there are perfectionists and want to do everything for Christmas yourself but you are really setting yourself up for failure and welcoming a bucket load of stress. Delegate roles to other family members or friends. Food is an easy item to delegate. This year our family is creating teams to decrease the burden of organising all the food on a couple of people. Split up your meals into courses and create teams of people to bring each meal. The same can be done for decorations, clean up etc. If you still want things done a certain way then simply give instructions eg bring a healthy salad that is gluten free, use red and white decorations. (In busy times like these people will welcome it so they don’t have to worry and think about what to do as much).
3. Move – Exercise can be a great motivation and mood booster. If you regularly exercise, keep it up, as it will help you stay sane, motivated and productive by giving you feel good hormones for the day. If you are feeling a little sluggish or overwhelmed, try a short walk, or stretching to shift your focus and awaken your mind and body. Movement especially light exercise like yoga, stretching and walking can noticeably reduce stress and help adjust your mood and thought patterns.
4. Stick to your spending limit – Money is a huge stress for a lot of people even more so during the holidays when there is an increase in functions and gifts to buy. Set a budget and a spending limit before you spend anything and keep track of receipts to ensure you are not overspending.
5. Remember it is just one day – Let’s gain some perspective now, it is just one day! Many people spend weeks preparing, stressing and running around like headless chooks for one day of the year. Imagine if you dedicated that much time into creating the year and life you want? Perhaps it’s time to look out how much energy we put into one day and divert that to creating an amazing life for ourselves.
6. Focus on what’s really important – Christmas is about giving but giving presence not presents. Move your focus to what is really important – being present with your loved ones and spending time with them. All the food and gifts don’t matter, if your family or friends weren’t there to celebrate with you, your Christmas function wouldn’t exist to begin with. Take time to spend good quality time with those you love, life is short so make memories while you can.
7. Be thankful – Think about how lucky you are and be thankful for what you have. There are many people around the world who are worse off. Be thankful. Write down 5 things you are grateful for this Christmas and reflect on this.
8. Enjoy – Take time to enjoy the festive season. Things can wait, is it the end of the world if dishes aren’t done straight away? Relax and take some time to enjoy it, otherwise it will whisk by and you will wish you spent less time worrying and more time enjoying.
9. Breathe – Breathing techniques are a great way to calm your mind and your body. In times when you are feeling stressed or anxious, stop and focus on your breathing. Take a deep breath in for 2 seconds, hold for 4 seconds and breathe out for 2 seconds. Repeat this at least 5 times. This will help you to ease tension and bring you back to your centre and a clearer thinking space. Try it out!
10. Don’t over indulge – A common problem that many face at Christmas, is overindulging, overeating and over drinking which then leads to the stress of weight gain and then having to lose the weight. Be conscious when you are eating and drinking during the festive season. Be aware of what is going in your mouth, eat slow and recognise when you are full. Food is for giving you energy, if you know what you are going to eat or drink is going to kill your energy, then choose something else. Once you start recognising these things, you will begin to train your brain and become better at eating healthy and not binge eating.