This post is for you if you find yourself missing the magic of Christmas because you end up stressed out and fed up despite your best laid plans.
We all know Christmas is (should be) a magical time of year but there is so much to do, keep track of and plan, sometimes Christmas Stress can creep up on us until you end up wishing the holidays away and craving a dose of normality!
Or worse behaving like the Christmas Grinch with a huge dose of guilt to boot.
I wrote about How to Have A Stress Free Christmas and shared how I learnt a hard lesson the first year but have since reclaimed Christmas. It’s full of tips and tricks I employ to make both the build up and the day run smoothly (if you haven’t seen it yet click here). Inevitably though there will be moments that challenge us. But what happens when you can feel the stress building and you need to address those demons? It’s vital to have a plan to maintain your own inner balance too.
Here are some really easy ways to keep calm and savour the moments – even when it feels like anything but Peace on Earth!
My Christmas Survival Guide to Stop the Stress Taking Over:
1. Prepare Your Positivity Stash in Advance:
Whilst Christmas should be focussed on your nearest and dearest sadly the reality is there always seems to be that one visitor you are dreading or the relative you just can’t avoid at this time of year.
So build up your reservesin advance so you’re resilient enough not to give these people your power.
Make your positivity stash so good you can rise above the jibes and slights (perceived or otherwise) without them dragging you down.
2. Balance Your Energy Drain with a Radiator:
It’s a fact of life that there are always people we will find more draining than others.
Maybe they are naturally negative and we find that exhausting. Maybe they are very opinionated and don’t care about offending everyone. Or maybe they just have nauseating table manners that drive you potty!
Whatever it is, plan to balance them out with someone who lifts you. Someone whose energy, attitude or honesty you find refreshing and you always come away from feeling better about yourself.
3. Embrace the Moment:
Realise that when the mayhem and the noise has gone you will miss it. Maybe not the day after(!) but in years to come we will look back on Christmases surrounded by kids and noise and wish to have them over again.
Being mindful of this means we can really focus in on the moments that make it all so magical. Actively ensure you pause to take it all in… literally stop in a doorway to take in the scene. Or grab a pretty notebook and keep a note of things the kids said or did that tugged at your heart or made you chuckle.
Focusing on the positives means we notice more positives so really be mindful of embracing the moment.
4. Recognise Your Body’s Stress Signals (and have quick fixes at hand to relieve them):
No, I don’t mean a quick alcohol fix [although do enjoy that (in moderation-ish) too 😉] It IS Christmas after all!
Having a simple self help tactic – like this body sensing practice means you always have a way to cut off the stress before it overwhelms.
How to practice body sensing to relieve stress and anxiety:
“bring your attention to a specific body part and rest your attention there without trying to do or change anything” … allow the sensation of that body part to emerge into your awareness, then move it on to another body part. “It instantly calms the nervous system and helps you handle stress more easily”Charlie Holloway: Physiotherapist and Yoga Instructor
5. Pause and Breathe:
If you find yourself about to react – pause – take 5 deep breaths – bring yourself back to a calmer place and prevent a harsh word said in haste increasing tensions or creating an atmosphere.
I use the Pause Technique when parenting A LOT … and find it very beneficial for certain adults too!
6. Maintain Your Self Care Rituals:
In fact … increase them if you can!
It’s a really sad but unsurprising fact that depression increases over the festive period. Be mindful of your own wellbeing. Monitor your thoughts and emotions and build additional time in to take care of yourself.
Yes, you are busy, but an hour one evening focused on what you love – be that soaking in the tub, journaling, painting – anything that brings you back to you – is not going to ruin Christmas – but it might save your sanity!
7. Actively Lift Your Mood:
Our Thoughts Become Our Reality … So What We Feel We Become … (Buddha – I think)…
If you think you are stressed you will be stressed, if you believe you can take it all in your stride that’s what you’ll do …
Being mindful of thoughts, feelings and emotions takes practice and can be done different ways for different people. For me it’s free writing that gives me the most insight.
Tracking your mood is invaluable. It becomes easier and easier over time to notice when you are starting to wane. As soon as you feel the ebb you can do something positive to lift yourself.
- Take from your positivity jar or journal – after all that is what it’s there for! This is why we build that stash of positivity – so we can replenish our stocks when they are running low.
- Find an essential oil blend that makes you feel empowered, strong, resilient, balanced, calm – whatever it is you need to lift yourself – find it and use it!
- Spend some time with one of your radiators: the people who top you up and lift you just by being with them.
Whatever your best mood lifting activity is – make time for it – this is your Christmas too!