Every year, you imagine that the Christmas season will be the perfect picture of your family in matching pajamas, hanging stockings around the amazingly colour coordinated tree, flawless cooking, delighted faces as our kids unwrap beautifully decorated presents and generally the festive season a swirl of joyful holiday parties all amidst a wintery, sparkling backdrop….BUT then you wake-up and remember that reality rarely matches up perfectly with those dreamy expectations.
For all of the fun and festivity there are plenty of challenges around at this time of year, so you’re going to need to be armed with some Christmas stress tips to get you through it all. Like many (dare I say, all) parents, are you struggling to stay calm over Christmas? With gifts to buy, trees to decorate, exhaustive shopping lists, and a house full of relatives, it’s hardly surprising that stress levels rise.
While an entirely stress-free Christmas probably isn’t realistic, here are five tips to help you have a more peaceful festive break.
Embrace the Outdoors
Are you tearing out your hair after the 100 mile line for the last of the advent calendars? Ready to burst from all that festive extravagance? It’s time to get out the house and walk off that extra mince pie and just breath, de-stress. The rhythm of walking has a naturally calming effect on your brain, helps to reduce anxiety, and aids better sleep. And given that Bangkok’s weather is ‘relatively’ mild during December, it’s the perfect time to enjoy an invigorating family stroll or bike ride around one of the city’s leafy public parks.
Enjoy More by Doing Less
Christmas is synonymous with excess. More cooking, more alcohol, more late-night parties. So we shouldn’t be surprised to find ourselves feeling less than optimal. The answer? Find ways to do less. Don’t be afraid to say no to the occasional social invite. Set a budget on the Christmas dinner to help avoid overspending. And ask for help to accomplish all the tasks on your list rather than trying to take everything on yourself. Kids love to be in the kitchen helping with all the festive preparations so how about getting them to help bake Christmas cookies or for older kids give them the task of peeling potatoes or coming up with ideas for table settings, many hands make light work!
At Christmas, we often exhaust ourselves by setting impossibly high standards. From finding the ultimate gifts for the family, to making sure the Christmas dinner reaches restaurant-worthy standards with far too many plates of food that end up as leftovers. So give yourself permission to let a few things slide. If the house is untidy, or dinner arrives late on the table, remind yourself what really matters: spending quality time with family. Stop sweating the small stuff, and you’ll find it easier to find more peace during the holidays.
Make Time for Some YOU Time
Back-to-back parties, crowded shopping malls, and a house full of family and friends. It’s easy to understand how Christmas can feel overwhelming. So try to squeeze in a little ‘you’ time over the holidays. Book a spa treatment, catch a movie at the cinema, or practice deep breathing to slow your heart rate and reduce anxiety. In short, do whatever makes you feel good. And if you feel guilty at the thought of a little self care, remember that taking time to de-stress will benefit everyone around you.
Take Care of Your Body
Healthy routines often go out the window at Christmas. A poor diet, along with lack of sleep and exercise can all impact stress levels. So make an intention to take care of yourself. Make time to hit the gym or go for a swim. Exercise releases endorphins and decreases cortisol and adrenaline levels, helping to reduce mental stress. To reduce overindulging on evening party food, eat a few healthy high-protein snacks in the day. And instead of staying up for that late-night Christmas movie, treat yourself to a couple more hours in bed with a good book or even better grab a few extra hours of shut-eye, your body will thank you the next day!
Remember your kids won’t notice the little missing things, but they will cherish more time with you.