For many people, Christmas time can become associated with extra pressure and stress. We can all feel the pressure to get out and buy that perfect Christmas present and produce the perfect Christmas dinner. Particularly this year when we haven’t been able to be out shopping in advance. But there are many ways in which we can make Christmas enjoyable without all the stress.
Try to plan ahead- get a sheet of paper and write the names of each person for whom you need to buy a gift. Write down an idea you have and where you could buy this and plan your shopping trip accordingly so you are focused on getting the gifts in question rather than wandering around the shops and ending up feeling frustrated at the end of the day. Write down the budget for each gift so you do not overspend. If you feel overwhelmed by the amount of gifts you have to buy, discuss this with your family- perhaps you can come to an alternative arrangement such as Secret Santa or clubbing together to buy one large gift per person. It is OK to ask for help if you are feeling overwhelmed by everything you have to do. Check if anything on your list could be delegated to family members. If you are cooking Christmas dinner this year, get out a sheet of paper a week before and write down everything that needs to be cooked- what can be cooked in advance and frozen or refrigerated for the big day? Are there family members to whom you can delegate a starter or dessert Try to be moderate- too much sugar and processed food and too much alcohol will only stress your body further. Remember that if you can take care of your physical health, your mental health will improve. Exercising during the Christmas period is also important as the release of endorphins when you exercise reduces stress and anxiety. While our memories of childhood Christmas may seem idyllic, it is more than likely that there were arguments and stress in the background but we did not notice it as children. The important thing about Christmas is the time we spend together doing simple things such as a family game of cards, a game of monopoly or a walk in town to see the Christmas lights. Remember that perfection is unattainable- aiming for the perfect Christmas is unrealistic and as long as there is quality time together, it is difficult to go wrong