16 Dec Tips for a Calm Christmas
Christmas is a time of joy as we gather with our loved ones, a time of giving and receiving, often overindulging, and a time for fun and appreciation. But it can also be the stressful season.
There is a lot of extra pressure in organising Christmas Day, special events, spending time in small spaces with relatives you don’t see often, and the overexcited children.
Here are some stress busting tips for a joyful and peaceful Christmas:
Set yourself your 3 Christmas goals and write your affirmations of how you want to achieve them. Remember to use the present tense, describe your best case scenario, and use your senses. Then take the time each day to read your affirmations and visualise the scene. Think about your “Why” as you set your goals and consider your Why for your best Christmas experience for you. What is the most important goal?
Prepare to achieve your goals. If you visualise beautifully wrapped presents under the tree or a home made gingerbread house, you need to do the preparation whether it is shopping, baking, crafting, or wrapping so that you give yourself the best opportunity to achieve your goal.
Prioritise. The last few days before Christmas seem to be the busiest time in the year and the most stressful if you are trying to juggle responsibilities, and keep everyone happy. Make a list or your priorities and consider what are most important to your values as a person. The more tasks that you can tick off before the big day, the more relaxed you will be and you will radiate this to other people.
Delegate. If you are trying to fit in with everyone’s social plans and to finish off deadlines before the holidays, make your priority list and delegate tasks to other people. Remember to delegate during social events over the holiday as well to ensure you can relax. Give yourself the time you want for the best experience.
The Art of Saying No. Not everyone enjoys the social events of Christmas, so remember it is ok to say no. We have a great podcast on The Art of Saying No (LINK) which gives tips and also enables you to identify your priorities. This can also ensure your diplomacy by forming boundaries which help you to achieve your goals. You can tell guests to arrive after a certain time. If you don’t want to attend a Christmas or New Year’s Party, you have the right to say no. It is your choice.
Ask yourself “Do I really need to buy that?” We are all very tempted by the last minute sales and also the extra presents of food and drinks treats during the few days just before Christmas. Impulse buying is often a resultof stress. Individuals will remember a small act of kindness or doing an activity with a loved one rather than an extra impulse gift.
Be diplomatic! Preparation is the key to avoid arguments so make sure that two guests who have a history of rowing do not sit together during a meal. Try to ensure you give equal time to those who may not get on so you do not appear to take sides. You can avoid a heated row by delegating a task to someone or by suggesting a game, karaoke, or a group walk to have some fresh air and exercise.
Take time out if you need to. If you do feel stressed with noise, arguments, anything that seems to go wrong – take some time out to calm yourself. Either go to a quiet room or a walk and do a 10 minute mindfulness exercise focusing on breathing, or do a focused activity in another room such as laying the table. Distract yourself and calm yourself.
If you are lonely this holiday season, there are opportunities to reach out to other people for company. Community groups often have Christmas lunches, charities welcome volunteers so that you help others to have a more enjoyable experience. Acts of kindness have been proven to improve happiness and life satisfaction. If you do need to talk to someone this Christmas, there are several helplines with volunteers to support you.
Christmas doesn’t have to be perfect. However, you can enjoy the best experience by setting yourself the goals and then working towards achieving them. By preparing, prioritising, delegating, and giving yourself some time to yourself, you can control the controllables for the best experience for you and your loved ones.
Susan Quilliam, Psychologist says: ‘A lot of people, women especially, try to get everything absolutely right when they’re under stress. But it’s OK to cut corners. Ease off the perfectionism. Spending time with people and having quality time with them is what’s going to make a good Christmas, and that’s what people will remember.’
We hope you all have a calm and joyous Christmas season!