What has Santa in store for you?

Love it or hate it, Christmas is the season for “the dig in the ribs from an elbow” to bring up a whole raft of resentment, irritations, and stress, ho ho ho!

As with everything, we all feel different about Christmas. It can be exciting, lonely, fun, worrying, sad, difficult plus a whole range of other emotions, all charging around the home plus overindulging in, well, pretty much everything! It’s been a long, old, hard and challenging two years in many ways and you deserve to spoil yourself, why not.

Then mix in alcohol, cabin fever and too much rich, fatty but yummy food – you get the picture.

Let’s face it, even those of us who have never grown up, still feeling the wonder of Christmas, loving everything about it, can feel pressured and overloaded.

Here are a few tips to temper the familiar but sometimes unwanted gifts from Santa

Traditionally the 12 days of Christmas ends on 6th January, coincidentally when divorce lawyers receive their highest number of enquiries. Being together, with no respite, can be difficult especially in more mature relations. The passage of time can sometimes mean that each person has changed and evolved and is no longer the same person who took their vows. *Make a decision that you won’t be judgemental.

Grown up children leaving the home can also bring a void which is difficult to fill. Sometimes it can mean thinking of those who are no longer with us. All upsetting and challenging. *Make a decision that you will be more understanding.

What about the deep-rooted dislike, irritation or boredom that some family members create for you? Unhelpful histories? *Make a decision to allow it to wash over you, it’s just for now and will pass. You can choose.

What about financial pressures? Or what about producing the perfect 5 Star Christmas Dinner, written up by some celebrity who, frankly, probably has a host of Christmas Elves running around after them behind the scenes. *Do what you always do – do your best with the information you have and your own available resources.

10 tips to make Christmas less stressful and more enjoyable.

  • Prevention is key. Eliminate the usual levels of stress and overload by being prepared and having strategies to reduce the impact of highly charged emotions. The best present you can give yourself is to decrease stress and anxiety returning balance and perspective.
  • Plan your shopping, purchasing and gifting – avoid buyer’s remorse.
  • Delegate the chores in advance to make it more fun for you. Assign everyone tasks like peeling vegetable, laying and clearing the table, housework etc
  • Set a cut off time. At that point, accept that what is done is done and what isn’t, well, hard luck!
  • Do the best you can and if things don’t go as planned, ignore them, laugh or work on a simple fix. Laughter is the best thing. There is always a funny side but usually it comes much later, look for it at the time.
  • Walk every day over the Christmas period.
  • Take the first walk soon to start planning your Christmas; phone and devices off and at home. Allow the walk to stimulate your creativity and subconscious. You will find that simple ideas seem to come from nowhere on what to do, write them down.
  • Build-in and allow “me-time” to read, be creative, watch a film, listen to your favourite music, planning music to meet the mood.
  • Make sure the person who makes your heart sink does not sit near or opposite you. Invite someone special as your consolation prize.
  • When a relationship matures, little irritating and irksome habits can creep in, like not closing doors, leaving the top off toothpaste, not changing loo rolls, you know the sort of thing I mean!
  • Write a “widow’s list”. If something happened to that person, hopefully not, it wouldn’t be the niggles you remember, it would be the kindness, thoughtfulness, how they took the pressure off you at times, the laugh, the touch of the hand and the special smile. Remember the best.

Wishing you a happy, stress-free Christmas.

Paula Ruane
Stress Resilience coach, trainer & speaker

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