Despite the fact the holiday season is supposed to be all about spending time with loved ones, for many of us we are too busy to enjoy it. Today I wanted to share some tips to help you have a stress free Christmas – or at least a less stressful one! To understand how we experience stress, I’ve reached out to psychologists and even visited a drug rehab to know how the patients there cope with stress. And you won’t know what its like in rehab until you’ve visited it, for the stress we experience can be nugatory in contrast to what the patients there suffer.
Set a Budget
For so many of us, Christmas stress can come from feeling like it’s going to send us into the red. Therefore, it is super helpful to set yourself a budget and then really stick to it. Your budget should of course include presents, but anything else you know you are likely to end out forking cash on. Food, drinks, new outfits – include all of them in your budget as well. Ending the silly season without a looming credit card bill will make you feel so much better.
Keep it Simple
This is an excellent tip not just for a stress free Christmas, but a less stressful life more generally! You do not have to go all out on all fronts – find the things that matter most to you and focus your attention there. That might mean scaling back the amount of decorations around your home, or choosing not to host quite so many gatherings. It could also mean focusing your gift giving on experiences rather than lots of things, which might actually help on the budget front as well!
Use Food Shortcuts
This tip ties nicely to keeping things simple actually! You don’t have to make absolutely everything from scratch yourself – reduce your stress and make the most of some food shortcuts. This might mean pre-made pastry cases, or getting your mince pies from the local bakery. Fill your freezer in advance with delicious, ready made meals to whip out for quick options for the weeks before Christmas too. Figure out what elements are super important to you, then find shortcuts for the rest!
Prepare Ahead of Time
As someone who will be working full time right up until Christmas, I know it’s not super easy to prepare much ahead of time, but I still give it a good shot. This is important for both present shopping and cooking – anything you can get ahead on, do that! At the very least, start making lists of the things you want to cook, so you can have your shopping list ready to go, and know what you can cook when you get the chance. The more prepared you are, the more likely you can have a stress free Christmas.
This is a big one, and one that lots of us struggle with. Just because you might be hosting Christmas doesn’t mean you have to be responsible for doing everything. Delegate out tasks to anyone you can – food preparation, shopping, you name it. The responsibility of making Christmas a success doesn’t need to just fall to just one or two people. People are never going to know what you need assistance with if you don’t ask, so give it a try!
The more that you can order online, the less time you have to spend at the shops! This includes food and drink as well as presents – and you can still support local businesses at the same time. The best part is that you can of course do your shopping at times that suit you, and you also don’t have to try and do it all at once either. There’s nothing worse than setting aside a few hours to try and tick off your whole shopping list and come back empty handed. It also allows you to compare prices and options more easily, which is great for the budget too!
Say Yes to Less
We all feel so pressured to squeeze in catchups with people before Christmas, which really makes no sense to me. It’s such an arbitrary deadline, and for most of us January is much quieter anyway! So, to give yourself a stress free Christmas this year, only say yes to the activities and events that you really want to attend. Be protective of your time and you’ll find yourself able to enjoy the things you do choose to go to. Something tells me other people will be just as happy to catch up in January too!
Make Time for Fun Activities
With the extra time you have now opened up in your calendar, use some of it to actually partake in fun Christmas activities. It is meant to be a joyous time of year after all! This might mean watching Christmas movies with your family, singing carols or going to see the Christmas lights in your area. Whatever it is, book it in the calendar and make the most of it!