10 Dec Top Tips to lower Stress at Christmas
Christmas is often a stressful time of year as well as joyous. In the wake of COVID, this year presents even more challenges.
We’ll miss those no longer with us, and family members and friends the restrictions do not permit us to see. The usual Christmas shop is either online or venturing out when permitted, to those shops still open, wearing a mask. The loss of jobs and revenue this year means many will be financially challenged too.
However, all of these challenges needn’t stop us having a great Christmas.
So what can we do to ensure we have a fabulous stress-free Christmas?
Keep it simple – fancy is fine, but if it means you spend more time in the kitchen, shopping, wrapping, decorating or running around trying to make it the best Christmas ever, you run the risk of missing the best bit about Christmas – celebrating and spending time with loved ones.
To keep it simple you may choose, as I have done, to ease back on loads of home baked goodies. I still like fresh, wholesome food, but I decided to prepare as much ahead of time and freezing some dishes. My sister suggested buying frozen sprouts – so much easier than peeling and preparing a bag, which takes ages.
I love to decorate the home at Christmas and enjoy buying new decorations for the tree each year. However, I also enjoy making some of my own. The most simple and delightful are from the garden. I like to collect ivy, and evergreen leaves, yew is good, some berries if I can find them, and make a display on their own, or with candles (following safety guidelines of course), existing decorations like fake garlands, and baubles. A small bunch of roses or other flowers can top it off beautifully.
The next area to simplify is presents. There is great pleasure in selecting, wrapping and giving a gift to another person, not to mention the delight in receiving. But do you over-do it? Do you buy presents for the sake of it or because you feel you need to spend the same amount on each person?
A few years ago my husband and I decided to buy each other one small gift at Christmas, because we have everything we want and need, and we find it difficult buying for each other. Alongside that small gift we either do something together or buy a joint gift that we can both enjoy. That has removed the pressure of making expensive mistakes.
Why not consider giving to good causes like adopting an animal, or planting a tree (not just for Christmas by the way!)
Plan ahead – I find lists particularly useful at Christmas; card lists, present lists, menu plans and shopping lists. I also like to write down which dishes can be made ahead of time and frozen, and I put a date in the diary to make sure it happens. I even go as far as adding to my Christmas meal timetable when to take them out again to defrost. I know in the build up and excitement I may otherwise forget and I wouldn’t be popular if the pudding was still in the freezer.
Ask for help – here is another area I have failed in over the last few years when hosting Christmas. Be clear on the type of help you need, how you’d like it doing and when. Then communicate it clearly to others. Completing tasks together can be fun – pop some music on, have a glass of bubbly. In general, people like to feel needed and of value, so accept offers of help with gratitude.
Self-care – it is your Christmas too! Book time for you over the Christmas period. Take a soak in the bath, with candles, your favourite relaxing essential oil, and Christmas music. Or go for a jog, read a book – take time to do what keeps you feeling balanced. Diffuse your favourite doTERRA calming essential oils like lavender, Roman Chamomile, or the Balance and Adaptiv blends to benefit everyone around you too.
Count your blessings – this can be challenging depending on the year you have had, but what this year has taught most of us is to value life, our health, time with family and friends, and our freedom. Gratitude is a practice that uplifts the emotions. As a practice it is best done daily; jot done those things you are grateful for each day. Write at least 3 things down. If you haven’t done this already you may be surprised how much you are grateful for, and how uplifted it makes you feel.
Whatever you are doing this year, with whomever you have the pleasure of spending time, I wish you all a very Happy Christmas.