The perfect Christmas is a myth. According to the Stress Management Society one in twenty of us find Christmas more stressful than being burgled. If you’re that one in twenty we’ve got your festive wellbeing covered with our Christmas wellbeing ideas for a stress free holiday.
For many of us, Christmas can be stressful time. Whether it’s the pressure you’re placing on yourself to create the perfect holiday, the stress of trying to keep others happy or simply a lack of time, Christmas can be quite a stretch. Festive wellbeing tends to take a backseat as you’re pulled in a multitude of directions trying to create a perfect Christmas. Instead of letting the ‘most wonderful time of the year’ get you down we’ve got 5 top tips to maintain your wellbeing and keep you on track.
Christmas Wellbeing 1: Abandon perfection.
Be kind to yourself. You don’t have to be perfect (nobody is). Practice the acceptance that some things will get done and some things won’t – that’s ok. Stop comparing yourself or trying to keep up with impossible standards. Focus on what’s important and forget the rest.
Christmas Wellbeing 2: Say ‘No’
At Christmas, it’s natural to want everyone to be happy. Saying no will help you to manage the festive pressure. Articulate what you need calmly and clearly to others, being clear about your boundaries. It might mean going against your normal festive plan of saying yes to everyone, but that little word ‘No’ will help you to manage your time and your stress levels. Take a look at our free assertiveness resources to find out how to say no without feeling guilty.
Christmas Wellbeing 3: Create time for yourself.
Set aside downtime. Press pause and move from doing mode into being mode. That means making sure that amongst all the preparation and planning you carve out time to meditate, read a book, exercise, listen to music, unwind or practice mindfulness for a few minutes each day (check out our free meditation e-book to get you started).
Christmas Wellbeing 4: Go easy on the booze.
Alcohol can lower your mood and increase your stress levels. Reaching for the bottle to push down your stress only adds to the pressure. Overloading on alcohol compromises your gut bacteria leaving you fatigued and achey. Your immune system will also be affected as a result of the stress on your liver. Side effects include acid reflux, bloating and extreme grouchiness. Whilst we’re not advocating abstinence (it is Christmas, after all) keeping your immune system bolstered with a green juice or lots of fruit and veg will help your system to rest and regenerate after over indulging.
Christmas Wellbeing 5: Be realistic and just breathe.
If your usual Christmas traditions involve a family tiff or two don’t set yourself up for disappointment. Realistic expectations will help you to manage any domestic fireworks and take the pressure of pretending that you can control the behaviour of others (you can’t).
If all else fails, breathe deeply to dampen down your fight, flight or freeze response. Breathe in for a count of five, pause and exhale for a count of five. Practice this for a couple of minutes to soothe stressful moments and maintain your calm.
Christmas Wellbeing 6: Savour the Good.
A technique from positive psychology involves really focusing and taking in the good that is happening around you. Research by Fred Bryant at the Lyola University of Chicago suggests that we can maximise the impact of good feelings by deliberately paying attention to them.
Here’s how. Bryant suggests taking a mental photograph of the positive event, share good news with others, become absorbed in the moment and nurture feelings of gratitude. It’s an easy win if you’re trying to reduce stress and enhance your wellbeing over the Christmas period.
Christmas Wellbeing 7: Connect.
If you feel overwhelmed and need to talk, remember that the Samaritans are still open 24/7 over the holiday period to offer emotional support. You can contact them free on 116 123 or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s ok not to be ok. Talk to someone, there are people there who will listen.