“Have yourself a merry little Christmas……” Wouldn’t that be great, but in reality, you might be thinking “fat chance”!
As joyful as Christmas is meant to be, stress definitely has a knack of building up at this time of year. From worrying about the lengthy shopping and to-do list and whether you’ve bought the right present, to planning the perfect meal and hoping the family all keep it together.
So what can we do to get through Christmas without blowing a fairy light and actually enjoy a merry little Christmas? We can’t change other people, but we can plan how we manage and respond to additional pressures at this time of year.
Here are 7 of our top tips to help you have a more joyful and relaxed Christmas and New Year:
1. Don’t sweat the small stuff
It doesn’t have to be perfect! Let go of expectations and go with the flow a bit more! Perfection is boring, does it matter if the dinner is a bit late or you forgot the stuffing? Once you give yourself permission to be human and that it’s ok to make mistakes, then you’ll feel more relaxed about the whole thing.
2. Remember the bigger picture
Focus more on what you’d really like the festive season to mean to you, rather than getting caught up in what you think it should be about. Is it about family, religion, beliefs, having a simple Christmas, giving etc….? It’s important to set your intention, plan and then imagine it happening! Often if you think you’re going to have a rubbish Christmas, then you will!
3. It’s really not about the money
If you don’t have much money for gifts, what about a gift of kindness or give a skill? Make them something, offer to babysit or give them a black bin liner with a note “fill me with clean washing and I’ll return you all ironed”!
If for you it’s about giving, then find a way to do something kind for someone in need. Perhaps visit someone who might be lonely. Often people don’t want “things”, they want company, sharing, love, rather than a pair of socks, chocolates, wine or the latest gizmo! It costs nothing, only your time!
4. Make Time Just For You
Don’t put yourself last! Shopping for gifts, planning, entertaining and making meals, work dos, on top of all the normal daily life stuff can actually drain our energy levels and that’s how you wind up running on empty and often becoming ill, catching a cold for instance. If you don’t look after yourself then how can you care for others?
So before that happens, make a little time every day (even just 10 minutes) to do something just for you. Go for a walk, meet a friend for a coffee and chat, have a relaxing bath, do some exercise, a little yoga or relaxation! Doing something small every day that feels good will help you feel relaxed, energised and more positive
5. Stay Present
Worrying about what might happen in the future can cause a lot of stress and anxiety, especially at holiday times. When you practise being present in the moment, you start to realise that most of your stress hasn’t actually happened yet! It’s like sitting in a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but doesn’t get you anywhere! So focus on the now not the future
6. Be Still
When we’re frazzled, it’s like we’re on a merry-go-round. So what’s the answer? Get off the roundabout. It’s that easy, just do it. Take a few minutes to be completely still and quiet. Resist the urge to buy into your chattering monkey stories or just “finishing wrapping the presents first”. When the body is still and the breathing slow, the mind has a much better chance of resting. Try these two easy yoga poses to help, Legs up the wall and Child’s pose :
7. New Year’s Resolutions
Don’t make any! Go back and think about one important thing you didn’t finish last year and finish that instead!