Not everyone finds Christmas time the most wonderful time year. For anyone who has lost a loved one recently or at this time of year in the past can find their associations with Christmas are not positive. Some people are lonely and find Christmas day something that must be endured and survived. Many breathe a sigh of relief that it is over for another year.
Christmas can be stressful and there are many reasons for this. For some, the holiday season can be a time of increased financial strain as they try to afford gifts and other expenses. For others, the holiday season can be a time of emotional stress as they face expectations from family and friends to attend gatherings and events. Additionally, it can be a time of increased social pressure to be happy and festive, which can be difficult for those who are struggling with mental health issues or difficult life circumstances. All of these factors can contribute to feelings of stress and anxiety during the holiday season.
Ten ways to cope with the stress or Christmas
- Set realistic expectations for yourself and others: Don’t try to do too much or please everyone. Focus on what is most important to you and let go of the rest.
- Plan ahead: Make a budget and stick to it, shop early to avoid last-minute crowds and stress, and make a schedule to ensure that you have time for rest and relaxation.
- Take care of yourself: Make sure to get enough sleep, eat well, and exercise regularly to help reduce stress and maintain your overall health. At this time of year there is a tendency to eat not only more but more unhealthy foods. The exercise routine disappears with the promise of starting again in January. The melting pot of change in diet, the lack of exercise and stress can be a recipe for disaster.
- If you are struggling don’t bottle it all up inside. Don’t try to cope with stress on your own. Talk to friends and family and ask for help. Everyone puts on a brave face that they show to the public, but if that is not how you are feeling inside then let someone know.
- Practice mindfulness: Try to stay present in the moment and focus on the good things in your life, rather than getting caught up in negative thoughts and worries. When your mind is full of stressful thoughts and worry try and find a place to sit quietly for a few moments and focus on your breathing. Count your breathing in and out, up to ten and then start again from one, until you feel yourself start to relax and come back into the moment. When your mind is in a muddle it is time to stop running, it is time to get still in the best way you can and take time out to come back into yourself. Only in this way can we find the best way to move forward.
- Make time for fun and relaxation: Don’t let the holiday season become all work and no play. Make time for activities that you enjoy and that help you relax, such as reading a book, taking a hot bath, or going for a walk.
- Set boundaries: It’s okay to say no to invitations that don’t align with your goals and priorities. Don’t feel obligated to do things that you don’t want to do or that will add to your stress. Don’t say yes to please other people, this is your life to be lived the way you want to.
- Don’t try to make everything perfect: Let go of the need for perfection and focus on the things that matter most. Other people don’t care if everything is perfect or not, it is a standard that you have set for yourself and that you are comparing yourself to.
- Be grateful: Practice gratitude by focusing on the things that you are grateful for, such as your health, your relationships, and the fact that you are living in this wonderful world so full of miracles. This can help to shift your perspective and reduce stress.
- Don’t forget the real meaning of Christmas: It is not about buying the most expensive presents, rushing around crowded shops laden with gifts. It is not about the eating more in one day than you ate over the month. It’s a time for compassion and caring. It’s a time for joy, peace, and love.
This Christmas holiday remember that it is a time for coming together with loved ones, reflecting on the year that has passed, and looking forward to the possibilities that the future holds.
I hope that whatever you doing this year you all have a peaceful time and a relaxing and recuperating break from your usual busy life.