Tis the season to be merry but Christmas can also be a source of stress for many.
Christmas burnout can be caused by a variety of festive worries including struggling to afford the extra expense, having to cope with numerous social outings with friends, family and colleagues and missing loved ones who are not around to celebrate with. A recent survey by eBay found that six out of 10 parents were feeling stressed by Christmas as they try to make the day magical for their children.
Although December is undoubtedly a busy time for many people, it is important to take time to relax and try to enjoy the festivities.
Here is La-Z-Boy’s guide to reducing your seasonal stress levels:
If you haven’t already made a start in your Christmas preparations, get going now. Leaving things to the last minute is more likely to make you feel stressed and anxious. Follow Santa’s example and make a list and check it twice. Write down everything you know you need to do and start tackling the tasks so you can spread them throughout the month rather than trying to do them all in one go.
If you’re short of time this Christmas, it might be worth taking a moment to think about what is really important to you. Are there some things you are doing purely because you think they are expected? Sit down and work out your priorities and concentrate on them. Prune your to-do list down to the vital tasks and outsource some jobs to other people if possible. Many of us rush around trying to create the perfect Christmas when we would have just as much fun if we didn’t bother with the special festive napkins or the homemade mince pies. If you are struggling to afford all the presents and food you are planning to buy, scale down your plans. You could make agreements with some of the people on your list that you won’t exchange gifts this year – you may well find they are as relieved as you. Alternatively, you could set a small budget that you both agree to stick to. Work out what food you really need and only buy what’s on your shopping list so you don’t spend money you can’t spare on expensive extras you can manage without.
Battling through crowded shops, searching for parking spaces and sitting in traffic jams are all things that can leave us feeling frazzled. Save yourself shopping stress by buying most of your gifts online instead. Buying from websites means you can get all your shopping done without having to stray from the comfort of your La-Z-Boy sofa or armchair. You can buy presents at any time of the day or night without having to worry about store opening hours and you can make sure you have a cup of tea or a glass of mulled wine on hand to make the experience more pleasant. Online shopping also makes it easier to compare prices between retailers to make sure you are getting the best deal and spending your money wisely. Just remember to leave enough time for items to be delivered as post often takes longer at this time of year.
There are often a lot of things to fit into the Christmas period but make sure you take some time to kick back and relax. Whether it is curling up in front of the fire with a book or taking a hot bath with scented candles, give yourself the gift of some me time this Christmas. If your house is full of visiting relatives, you may find getting out for a walk by yourself helps keep you from feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. If you feel yourself getting stressed or anxious, breathe deeply to slow down your heart rate. Inhale through your nose and hold the breath for 15 seconds before exhaling slowly through your mouth. Keep going until you feel calmer and more able to cope.
When you’re stressed out, your body creates the hormone cortisol to deal with fight or flight situations. Caffeine also increases production of cortisol so reaching for an extra coffee when you’re feeling wrung-out can actually make the situation worse. Drinking decaf coffee and tea and offering it to your guests is likely to reduce the amount of arguments you have over the Christmas period and will also help you get a good night’s sleep. It’s also a good idea to set yourself a limit when it comes to alcohol. It is probably unrealistic to suggest you keep away from the festive booze altogether but make sure you also drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. Alcohol often fuels arguments and can make stressful situations worse as well as leaving you feeling worse for wear the next day. If you stick to sensible amounts, your body will thank you and you’ll find it easier to relax and unwind.