Christmas Stress Relief: 5 Simple Tips To Help
The Christmas period is supposed to be one of the most joyful times of the year, but for many it brings about unstoppable stress. While we’d all love to experience a happy Christmas, sometimes life simply gets in the way!
Or, we find it ourselves feeling overwhelmed with the sheer amount of organisation involved. For some people, this time of the year can be extremely triggering as family members come together. Whatever your reasons for feeling stressed during the festive season, know that there is relief.
In fact, in this helpful guide, I’m going to provide you with 5 simple tips that you can easily use to reduce the stress you are currently facing.
Taking care of your mental well-being over Christmas is the most important gift to give to yourself.
Before we get started, here are some common signs of stress to watch out for:
- Pain in chest
- Brain zaps
- Aches and pains
- Lump in throat
1. Check-In With Yourself
Being able to be present is life-changing and certainly, a big help when it comes to minimising and dealing with stress. Because Christmas involves a lot of preoccupation with the future (all of that planning and shopping), we can often forget to be present.
When you feel your stress levels rising, take a few minutes to check in with yourself. Go to a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed and practice a simple and effective breathing technique I’ve outlined below, you can do this anywhere on your own or in company:
- Take a deep mindful breath in and let it out slowly. Try inhaling for 4 seconds and exhaling for 5. Repeat this a few times;
- Look around for 5 things that you can see;
- Look around for 4 things you can feel;
- Listen for 3 things you can hear;
- Notice 2 things you can smell;
- Finally, 1 thing you can taste;
- You have successfully engaged all your senses and grounded yourself back to the present moment.
If thoughts try to pull you to the future or past while following the grounding exercise, simply return to the present moment and repeat until you have completed all the steps.
2. Be Mindful of Overspending
While we all want to show our loved ones we appreciate them with thoughtful gifts, this doesn’t equate to spending beyond what we can afford. Finances over Christmas can cause a huge amount of stress and strain.
I advise setting a clear budget for the festive period and sticking to it. If you are finding that a lot of your stressful thoughts are centered around money, that’s telling in itself. Remember that you can still show appreciation and love with homemade gifts, second-hand gifts, and cheaper gifts.
It is always the thought that counts when it comes to gift-giving!
3. Make Time To Recharge
Juggling all of the Christmas preparations without taking time for yourself is a sure way to quickly get burnt out. Try your best not to neglect your well-being during this time. For some, this may mean taking a relaxing bath after a day of Christmas shop. Others may want to sit and make time to read or meditate for example.
Whatever self-care looks like to you be sure to keep up your good habits. If you find yourself making excuses that you are ‘too busy’, slap yourself on the wrist. Nobody is ever too busy to recharge and it’s massively important for the reduction of stress.
4. Get Outdoors
Even if you don’t want to start a yearly tradition of a 5km walk on Christmas day, don’t talk yourself out of going outdoors and enjoying some nature. Yes, it’s a bit chilly at this time of year but nature’s powers for doing wonders for your stress remain the same all year round.
Wrap up and go for walks during the festive holidays. Or, at least try and get outside on one of the days. It can be super tempting (and comfortable) to just stay inside in your pyjamas and overindulge in all that Christmas cosiness, however, you’ll probably find yourself feeling stressed very quickly.
Nature helps to restore peace and will give you a clearer headspace, whether you go solo or in company is up to you!
5. Set Your Boundaries
Stress levels can often increase when we feel that other people do not respect us. When family members come together at Christmas for many there is a high chance that a conflict can arise. Setting your boundaries to protect your wellbeing is key.
This could be something like refusing to get involved in a conversation with a sentence such as ‘I refuse to be a part of this conversation, thanks for respecting my wish’ or a simple ‘no’,
It is okay to say no and reaffirm your boundaries to maintain your mental wellbeing.
If you’re struggling with stress, please get in touch and we can discuss options to help you. I offer counselling services in Surrey and online as well as a free 15-minute consultation for any new clients.