Following on from my post on Christmas stress relief, I thought I’d share with you what has worked/is working for me this year so that you too can revel in the same heady delights of stress free-ness (is that a word? Probably should change it to get the on page SEO right 🙂 ) as I have this year.
Tip #1 Decide To React Differently
This is a tough one because it can mean that you have to go against your nature, but reframing your perspective is a key stress reliever, and probably the only one you will ever need.
Taking a hypothetical example totally at random – when your 6 year old twin sons use one of the dogs’ toys to play football (soccer) AGAIN in the living room, and smash some of the Christmas decorations, including a glass bauble which you’ve had since you got married, keep your cool. Calmly vacuum up the broken glass, reset the decorations and then punish the offending children by setting them 15 lines (six year old boys hate writing) to include at least one of their current spellings and another long word (eg “I am sorry I broke the Christmas decorations playing football inside.”), and confiscate their DSi game chips until said lines are finished.
Tip #2 Accept That Good Enough Will Do
The festive period is a time for celebration, for eating good food, exchanging gifts and getting together with family and friends. And somewhere in all of this the meaning of Christmas can get lost. There is a sad tendency over the festive period, especially amongst women and especially those with visiting in-laws, to feel the need to get everything perfect. Statistics show that women, on average, “lose it” shortly after 11am on Christmas morning. They feel the burden of the arrangements and food preparation is heaped on them and it all just gets too much when nobody notices – or cares – that the silver cake decorations you spent half a day looking for, exactly match the napkin designs.
Good enough is good enough. Christmas will come on the 25th whether you are perfectly ready or not. And everyone will eat the dinner you prepare whether you have cooked the trimmings perfectly or not. And Boxing Day will arrive 24 hours later whether you “got it perfect” or “made do”.
The fact is, your idea of perfect is not the same as someone else’s idea of perfect. So get it “good enough”, then quit. Use the extra time you save to get a massage, manicure or just a sit down with a hot (freshly hot – not micro waved up) cup of tea/coffee and take some time to relax. Christmas is supposed to be a celebration after all!
Tip #3 Decide To Enjoy Your Children
They say that “Christmas is for children” but can it be very hard work for parents. And when the darlings are up bright and early and have opened everything by 5am (or earlier!), leaving a room full of wrapping paper, ripped boxes, scattered parts and unassigned presents you are going to have to write and thank people for, it can be easy to lose your sense of humor – especially when you were up late into the night weaving the magic because the little darlings were too excited to go to sleep until late. And as being woken up so early by his twin leaves your “night owl” son grumpy, argumentative and difficult, it really can be tough to enjoy your children.
You need to be well rested to enjoy Christmas with children. And if you aren’t, you need to decide that today you are just going to “coast” and not get stressed by them. Nobody will mind if you write a thank you letter explaining how much they enjoyed opening the presents. Children are only young for a very short time. It is a magical time. You are blessed. Go easy on yourself and have fun. Boxing Day will arrive all too soon.
So there you are, my top tips for a stress free Christmas. What are yours?