As much as Christmas is a time of joy, festivities and having a fantastic time with friends and family in a jolly environment eating way too much food … I got distracted thinking about food … oops.
Right – I think we can all agree that just because we have all of those positives, holiday stress is still a real thing that can have a very real impact. The holiday season can be incredibly stressful and overwhelming. There always seems to be a million things to do, a never-ending shopping list or so many things you need to make/buy/prepare, and there are only so many hours in the day. People tend to put so much pressure on themselves to make Christmas feel as big, magical and unforgettable as possible – but we don’t need to do that.
On top of all the typical stress, I think there’s also the added pressure of everyone having high expectations. We think everything has to be perfect otherwise Christmas will be ruined. We can end up putting so much additional pressure on ourselves and on others, and sadly that can truly leech all of the joy out of what should be a very merry and happy time of the year. So today, I’m going to be sharing some tips on how you can hopefully have a more stress-free Christmas this year.
Preparation is critical – get organised.
This cannot be said enough. I have learnt this lesson the hard way, and I have learnt this tip from a few other people when I was young who were super organised during the holidays. They made sure that everything was ready well ahead of time, they knew exactly where things were and what needed to be done when. When you don’t have that sort of highly-tuned organisation going, Christmas can turn into a hot mess very quickly because it is so easy to get overwhelmed and drown under the weight of wrapping paper, tinsel and Christmas cookies yet to be decorated. I think it is such a key skill to be calm and organised (and stay that way) during Christmas.
Prepare as much as you can ahead of time. Buy gifts early, plan your meals and know what needs to be done by when so that when it gets closer to Christmas, you have much less left to do and you feel like you have everything under control. Involving some holiday helpers is also a great way to get things done, and I definitely recommend trying to see if you can find a few people to lend a hand.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
We always end up putting so much pressure on ourselves at Christmas and why? I think it’s a societal expectation that’s been ingrained in us – where we feel the need to make everything perfect and make every year bigger, better and brighter than the last otherwise, you might as well have sat back and done nothing. (I can just imagine my close friend/flatmate who takes the same sociology classes I do chuckling because we talk about things like this a lot!) We don’t need to make everything perfect. Christmas is meant to be a time of happiness and love – it’s not meant to feel like you’re trapped in a pressure cooker. Try to find ways you can reduce the pressure (like having a potluck or getting takeaways instead of cooking a huge meal or doing secret Santa?) so that you can look back on Christmas as a fantastic time with happy memories you made with family and friends instead of only being able to remember how many presents you had to wrap or that you cooked for 50 people.
Set yourself boundaries
Too much of a good thing can often turn into a disaster, so an important thing to remember during the holidays is to set yourself limits and boundaries. Give yourself a budget when it comes to how much you can spend, or a limit on how expensive gifts can be. Create boundaries for yourself such as you’re only going to 5 holiday events this year, or you aren’t cooking more than 3 dishes. Whatever it is, give yourself some boundaries. I know it might feel like you are limiting your fun but having limits are important because they are safety nets that stop us from spending too much or overcommitting and ending up exhausted and miserable. It may feel a bit bleak when you’re doing it, but when you’re coming out the other side not sleep-deprived and feeling happy and calm because you didn’t put too much on your plate, you’ll thank yourself.
Only do what you want to do.
This is so so so important! Another common thing I’ve found that leads to Christmas stress is that inexplicable need to please people and help everyone, or put others wants and needs before your own. Well, this year, I am giving you the reminder that you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to. I know there is sometimes the pressure to see family members you may not like or go to friend’s events that you may not get on with, but you need to remember that it’s okay to say no. Just because it’s Christmas, that doesn’t give others a free pass to pressure you into things that you aren’t happy with. Christmas can have negative implications for people but remember that this is meant to be a happy, fun time that is also relaxed so if something is negatively affecting you and your mental health you are allowed to say no. The only person you owe anything to is yourself, and you owe it to yourself to be kind to yourself!
Take time for yourself.
Following that, just because it’s Christmas, that doesn’t mean you have to be out there socialising, preparing or being merry the entire time. We all need time for ourselves, sometimes especially during big events like Christmas and it’s crucial to remember that you should never feel guilty about putting yourself first. Make sure you take time out of your holiday schedule for yourself, where you can just relax without any pressure and do whatever you want to do. It can be as simple as having a long hot bubble bath or turning your phone off for a whole day just so you can lounge in your PJs watching movies and eating Christmas snacks uninterrupted. We all need time to recharge and just be in our own space sometimes so don’t forget to be kind to yourself this Christmas and take a little time each day just for you.
Slow down and remember what really matters
Most of all, don’t let the Christmas stress ruin what should be a fun time of the year. It’s a time that you get to take off from work or school to be with friends and family. If you feel like the stress is getting to you, slow things down. Stop and take a minute and think about what really matters. Why are you doing all of this? If you need to, scale things down or just take a break. We have to stop putting so much pressure on ourselves to make Christmas this postcard-perfect celebration because that’s not what it’s all about. This time only comes once a year, and it is special, so don’t let the stress ruin all of that. Rather slow things down, and be present in the moment enjoying the time with the fantastic people in your life. That’s what Christmas is about.
And there you have it! I really hope that you’re feeling a bit more positive and relaxed about the festive season, and if you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I hope that these tips have helped you with that too! Remember it’s not about being perfect – that’s what movies and adverts are for. Real life is messy, and that’s half the fun, so enjoy the time, and hopefully it isn’t too stressful.
Thank you all so much for reading today’s post and for all those who have been keeping up with Blogmas. I really hope you’re enjoying it. If you enjoyed today’s post, please don’t forget to like, subscribe, comment and share with your friends (especially if you think they might be feeling stressed this festive season).
Lastly, what do you find yourself stressing about the most during Christmas? How do you stop yourself from becoming overwhelmed with stress? Do you struggle to keep calm and find the balance with everything going on? How do you destress yourself amid all the festive madness? Let’s chat in the comments section!!
Lots of Love
Blondey on a Mission xxx