3 Top Tips To Beat Christmas Stress

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. 

STOP.

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?

Why Christmas Will Be Stress Free This Year

It’s that time of year again and I cannot believe how quickly the year has flown by.  I like to buy myself a week-to-view diary/journal and take time to write the important dates in it, transferring them carefully from my old diary.  It’s not hi-tech, not the most efficient use of time and there are certainly more reliable ways of doing it in this digital age.  But I like it because it allows me to gather my thoughts, revisit the old year and realize just how much I accomplished during that time… and how much I never got around to! 

Christmas is also a very poignant time for me because it was at Christmas time ten years ago that my mother suddenly died.  She had early onset Alzheimer’s and was only 71.  It was a shock and – to some extent – a relief when she passed on as the illness had long stolen away the person who was my mother.  I have still not got over losing her even though I did not see her very much (I live 300 miles away) and could not phone her at all in the latter stages because her illness meant she got confused easily and readily distracted.  I still miss her.

And I have a Christmas cold – again.  It comes from the stress of the season.  I get one most years, except for the first Christmas with the boys when the whole family fell ill with projectile vomiting.  Now that was a memorable Christmas!  Not.  Sadly we had the in-laws over from Spain so we went through with the whole festive thing and felt terrible.  I think it was only the in-laws who ate the meal.  Had we been on our own we would have postponed the celebrations until we felt well! 

We’re off to see Father Christmas tomorrow.  It’s probably going to be the last year we can before the magic is broken.  The boys will make toys with the elves and ice something unhealthy with Mrs Claus, visit the reindeer and then we’ll go ice skating.  It should be great!  Just hope it doesn’t snow for real – the UK being unable to handle anything but the most mediocre of weather, more than 20 flakes will probably shut the M25!

Not that I’d mind if it did this year, because I’m ready.  Decorations done, cards written, presents bought – and wrapped, itinerary planned, family invited… and other half doing the food.  Feels great!  Definitely the way to a stress free Christmas!