December tips of the month

With the festive season now upon us, many people find this time of year particularly stressful so here are some tips to help:

 

  • Get organised in advance about buying presents, putting up Christmas decorations and planning food over the festive period.

 

  • Maintain perspective! If something doesn’t get done it doesn’t really matter.  If someone forgets to buy the sprouts, leaves great aunt Mavis’s lavender perfume present at home, is it the end of the world?! 

 

  • Mind Your Language! You can help maintain perspective by being aware of your language and ensuring it does not become very catastrophic and melodramatic.  Remember that language and thought are interconnected so if you keep using language such as ‘awful’, ‘dreadful’,’ terrible’ etc.  you are going to make yourself feel more stressed.

 

  • Give yourself a break! You’re a not superwoman  or man.  No one is perfect.  We all have these high expectations over Christmas that we will all get together as a family and it will be like one of those Disney Christmas films where there will be a beautiful country house with everyone singing Christmas carols round the piano and it will suddenly start snowing!  The Christmas table will be set with the most amazing matching china and all the food will taste  like Delia had been round to cook it all!  Take the rose tinted specs off, this isn’t reality!  Yes the chairs are all different heights and the plates and dishes may have a few chips and don’t match, but who cares.  It’s ok to buy pre made cakes and other Christmas food rather than putting loads of pressure on yourself to bake everything.

 

  • Overcome your social anxiety. Many people do suffer from social anxiety and this seems to come to the forefront over Christmas. People invite relatives and friends around and get really stressed that they will be judged about the house, the cooking, the tidiness etc.  Social anxiety is not real.  It is only how that person perceives the situation.  The friends or relatives are likely not bothered or just grateful to be asked round.  Even if they are judging you, does it really matter? They can do Christmas next year!

 

  • Think about the things that are important, not the small insignificant material things. Gratitude is a great antidote to negative thinking.

 

  • Imagine having a great stress free Christmas, rather than thinking about all the things that could go wrong. Enjoy yourself and just think “is this really worth getting stressed about”?  If the answer is no, replace the thought with something more helpful. 

 

  • You are making yourself feel stressed! If someone is starting to irritate you over the Christmas holiday, remember that they aren’t making you feel grumpy, stressed, annoyed, YOU are doing this to yourself. It’s your choice how you respond. Take yourself away from the situation. It is really worth getting stressed about? 

 

  • Know when to stop. You can go on and on buying presents, cleaning and preparing food but it’s important to just give yourself a deadline.  If it’s not done by then, it’s not going to happen.

 

  • Escape. Sometimes we just need to get away from things.  Go for a bath, go for a walk or create a reason to go out for something if you feel like you need your own space.

 

  • Get some exercise. Go for a long walk or a run on Christmas day or Boxing Day.  It will help clear your head and you will feel much better.

 

  • Delegate. Some people, particularly perfectionists struggle to delegate to anyone as they don’t believe they could do as good a job as themselves.  However, people like helping and want things to do rather than watching you running round like a headless chicken!

 

  • Above all have fun, relax, and enjoy watching people opening their presents and children getting super excited. Play some silly games and savour the moment.