I usually love Christmas. As the song goes, it’s the most wonderful time of the year for me. Or at least I try to make it so.
Unfortunately, many people find this time of year extremely stressful. Whilst short term stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing, long term stress can result in your body responding with a range of symptoms including insomnia, a change in eating habits or physical effects such as hair loss and skin problems. I’ve put together a few of my top tips to keeping this time of year as stress-free as possible. Not looking at how the kids have decorated the tree is tip #9.
One of the key rules to keeping it wonderful is to keep the pressure off yourself. Here are eight ways to do just that:
- Getting organised early, especially when you have a lot of people to buy for, is a must. You might be feeling all Christmassed out by Boxing Day but do take a look through the reductions in the January sales and get started for next year.
- Make sure you keep track of any gifts you have bought throughout the year as well as who they are for in a dedicated notebook. This will avoid you missing anyone out or duplicating gifts.
- Don’t worry about keeping gift values equal. It isn’t necessary! If a child really, really wants something that costs £20 over a £30 allocation they have, get the thing they yearn for!
- The extent of your love is not proven by how much you spend on someone. There, I said it. No child or adult needs an expensive gift to have proof of your love for them. An inexpensive gift bought or made with thought and consideration is worth more than flashing the cash.
- Spreading the cost of Christmas out over the year with money I have at the time rather than relying on credit and ending up spreading the cost over the coming year, or years, with interest is also a top recommendation. Don’t spend anything you can’t afford to.
- Make lists! Or, if you’re like me, an Excel spreadsheet is my biggest friend during the Christmas period! Gift lists, card lists, to-do lists – get all that stuff that’s swimming around in your head down on paper or a spreadsheet and suddenly the world – or at least your brain – is less cluttered!
- It’s okay to say NO. Christmas is traditionally a time for getting together with everyone but sometimes it can be overwhelming. It’s okay to say no to squeezing everyone in before the big day and making arrangements for after the event. Don’t commit yourself to more than you feel comfortable with.
- Take some time out for you. If you are the main organiser of your household’s Christmas you can quite easily find yourself carried away on a wave of organising, rushing and list ticking as well as cooking, cleaning, wrapping and general exhaustive festive fare. Run a hot bath, light some cinnamon candles and relax with a good book. It is Christmas after all!
Do you have any tips for keeping the stress levels at bay during Christmas? I’d love to hear them.