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
Fit to bursting from all that festive extravagance? It’s time to get out the house and walk off that extra helping of Christmas pudding. 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.
- Avoid perfectionism
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. 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 brisk stroll. 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. You’ll be glad of the extra shut-eye the next day.