‘Relaxation’, by Charlotte Saker
For many people the Christmas season is a time of joy, family and celebration. But for a lot of us it’s also a time of stress, anxiety, and disappointment. There are high expectations over the festive season of happy families, cooking a big meal, buying and giving lots of presents and generally having that Christmas card perfect holiday. But not all of us can live up to those ideals.
I don’t know about you but the stress of cooking a roast dinner for me I know takes away most of the joy of eating it, and my bank balance at the end of the festive season is one that I’d rather not look at. The way I tackle the first is always going to a family members house for dinner and help them, pressure taken off me! I also try to spread the cost of Christmas. Last year I started buying presents in August (crazy I know but it helped).
As for getting together with family, deciding which family we should go to (my parents divorced when I was small, luckily my partner’s family are together but we do have 3 birthdays around Christmas Day!), not wanting to offend anyone but also not wanting to spend the whole of Christmas travelling around either. And when it comes to presents I get really anxious. What does Dad want, for example? How much is it going to cost? And even on the day, yes it’s lovely getting presents but opening those chosen for me, with all eyes on me, watching for how I will react makes me really uncomfortable.
Some of the key ways of coping with the stress and anxiety of Christmas are eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep (that is something I still desire with small children in the house!) But I’ve put together a few tips that might help some of you have a more relaxed festive season:
It’s easy to let this slip over Christmas. Maybe you have kids at home from school, maybe you have a tight festive schedule, or you’re not basing yourself at home, or perhaps you’re telling yourself “I’ll start exercising again in January!” But exercise now is more important than ever – even if it’s just a 10 minute walk around a nearby park.
Take it easy on the alcohol
A hangover can make you feel 100% worse, more tense, more nervous and feeling rubbish about yourself. If you like a drink don’t be too tough on yourself and have a couple but take it easy.
Make time for you: Take yourself off for a walk, have a daily bath, sneak off to read a book, meet family for lunch instead of dinner so that you can get an early night. Try to recharge those batteries so that you can stay calm and happy.
Let go of the ‘shoulds’
This is real life. Christmas can be full of ups and downs like the rest of the year, so try to let go of the expectation or desire for things to be perfect like a Christmas card.
Remember to get in touch if you need extra support at this time of year!