The Christmas season is well under way and whilst this is a magical time of celebration, it is not without its challenges. Here are my top 10 strategies to help you to get through it all, as stress free as possible.
1. Decide on a budget and stick to it…it’s not worth potentially creating misery for yourself by getting into debt. Remember it’s not about giving the most expensive gifts but it’s the thought behind them, which really does count. Thoughtful and even hand-made presents are often the most well received and appreciated. The gift of time is a nice idea, plan a date with a friend in the new year which you can look forward to and enjoy each other’s company.
2. Set your boundaries and stick to them. Do what is best for you. If something is not helpful to you then say No! If you really can’t avoid something, then limit the time which you are prepared to give to it and make sure that you do something relaxing to reward yourself afterwards.
3. Remember that the perfect Christmas only really exists in movies - If things don’t go quite to plan, it’s really not the end of the world! Christmas is a story. There are often twists in the plot of all the best stories!
4. Consider taking time out from social media over the festive season. This will help you to gain greater self-awareness and can increase self-esteem and mental well-being. If you do decide to use social media, avoid comparing your own experiences with those of friends, you don’t really know what is going on behind the pictures of presents and smiling faces!
5. Don’t put yourself under pressure to be everything to everyone. Share the load with others wherever possible, so that you can simply enjoy the company of family and friends.
6. Drink alcohol sensibly. Alcohol is a depressant and drinking excessive amounts can cause anxiety, irritability, and low mood. Do enjoy a glass or two, it’s Christmas after all but be aware of your intake and take notice!
7.Try to eat healthily. It’s sometimes difficult not to over-indulge at Christmas but try to make smart food choices when you can. Fruit and vegetables contain antioxidants and keeping up a good intake of these kinds of foods will help to maintain good energy levels.
8. Be active. Gentle exercise can be a good way of relieving stress and lifting mood. Plan some active Christmas games to enjoy with the family or friends. Taking a wintry walk has the added benefits of fresh air, a change of scenery and a chance for some peace and tranquility.
9. Get plenty of sleep. Sleep is vital to our physical and mental wellbeing, so try to make sure that you get enough of it over the Christmas period. Establish and stick to a bedtime routine. Give yourself at least 45 minutes to wind down and relax, before getting into bed. Take a warm bath or listen to some relaxing music, this will help you to switch off and clear your mind, of all the hectic festivities, to aid restful sleep.
10. Keep Christmas traditions. These can give us a real sense of belonging and are an important part of building a strong bond between family and our communities. Make time for some of your favourite traditions and if you don’t have any why not start one!
Stay Supported - It’s easy to feel lonely at Christmas when we’re bombarded with images of happy families. Some useful organisations you can turn to if you need support are listed below:
SAMARITANS - confidential emotional support by phone or email 24/7
Call 116 123 for free
Available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to provide confidential emotional support for people who are experiencing feelings of distress, despair or suicidal thoughts.
SHOUT - Free confidential 24/7 text service, for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere.
Text: SHOUT to 85258
PAPYRUS - Papyrus is the national charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide. They support young people under 35 who are experiencing thoughts of suicide, as well as people concerned about someone else.
Call: 0800 068 41 41
Test: 07860 039967
Contact me at email@example.com or tel: 07969 416648 for information on how I could help.