Christmas and the holiday season should be a time for joy, family and giving, but the opposite is often the case for many people. Whether it’s money troubles or a difficult family dynamic, there are many reasons that the “most wonderful time of the year” is anything but that.
If you’re already feeling the stress of the Christmas season, you’re not alone. A survey by YouGov found that one in five Brits feels more stressed at Christmas. Feeling low is common for those who are unemployed, divorced or widowed, but having young kids at home can also be a source of stress.
Nothing can fix the pain of dealing with heartbreak or grief over the festive period, but there are things you can do to cope with the additional stress that comes from living up to certain expectations. If you need permission to put yourself first this Christmas, consider this your sign!
Set Boundaries & Protect Them
You can set boundaries on anything from how much you want to spend on gifts to who you want to spend your time with.
If financial problems are weighing you down, let your loved ones know that you’ll be scaling back your Christmas shopping this year.
You could organise a Secret Santa with your friends or family, or you could agree to a spending limit on gifts.
And if seeing certain family members adds to your stress, set a time limit this year so you can get in and get out without any drama.
Setting boundaries is all about knowing what is likely to cause you the most stress and then taking action to prevent it from becoming an issue.
Indulge in a spot of self-care this season to allow yourself time to really unwind. If you get to take time off over the Christmas period, try to carve out some dedicated time for relaxation.
It’s tempting to fill the time with festive activities, but don’t forget that doing nothing is also an option. Treat yourself to something indulgent – like our CBD Chocolate Balls – and enjoy a lazy afternoon watching your favourite Christmas films.
And if you’re feeling inspired to get into the kitchen, why not try making our CBD Fudge? The perfect Christmas treat to leave you feeling balanced.
If planning Christmas always falls on your shoulders, it’s time to ask for help. Delegating the roles required to make Christmas Day enjoyable for everyone will allow you to enjoy a little bit of that joy, too.
Make a list of everything that needs to happen and then start sharing out the tasks between your household. You could ask individuals to take charge of cooking, cleaning or decorating tasks.
Think about everyone’s strengths and assign them tasks they are most likely to enjoy. This also takes the pressure off making everything perfect, since everyone will be invested in the preparation.
It’s tempting to hibernate during the colder months, but the combination of less physical activity and more indulgent food can leave you feeling sluggish. Try getting outside for a brisk walk once a day will support your mental health.
If the bad weather and shorter days affect your mood, you could be suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). We’ve shared our tips on overcoming seasonal change here.
Not everything has to be perfect, so try to adopt the attitude that you’re going to go with the flow rather than try to control everything. If you build up Christmas Day in your mind, you’re likely going to be disappointed when the day comes.
Instead, keep a level head throughout and try to stay present and in the moment. Accept that things might go wrong. The turkey might be dry and the sprouts might be overcooked – but none of these things are really important. What’s important is being around loved ones and sharing experiences.
It’s easy to lose perspective over the Christmas period. We get so wrapped up in buying gifts and planning the perfect meal that we forget just how lucky we are. Try giving something back over the festive period by volunteering.
Volunteering is also an excellent option if you are feeling lonely over the festive period. This can help you to connect with other people in the same position and give something back to your community.
Keep it in Perspective
Christmas isn’t for everyone, so sometimes you just need to smile and wait for it to pass. Remember that it’s only one day, and there is no pressure to enjoy it in a particular way.
Break with tradition or make your own traditions. If there’s something about Christmas Day that raises your blood pressure, drop it in favour of something enjoyable. For example, if you hate cooking a big breakfast before you cook a big Christmas dinner, serve a buffet breakfast of pre-made items to reduce your workload.
Keep Your Daily Routines
Routines make us feel relaxed and grounded. Whatever small routines you have, try to keep them going, even if your daily schedule is a little different.
Try to eat three meals per day, get outside for some exercise, and don’t skip things like mindfulness exercises.