Beat Depression

Ways to Manage the Stress of Christmas

Shopping during the week is one of the ways to manage the stress of ChristmasFor many people Christmas is quite a stressful time. They fret about making everything perfect for their families, have serious concerns about the financial outlay, are apprehensive at spending so much time in close proximity with their partners, children, in-laws. Then there are the other people who are alone over Christmas, some of whom may be dreading their single, lonely state, distressed at the prospect of seeing others apparently ensconced in delightful, family groups.

Whatever your situation, Christmas can bring its own stresses. Let’s look at some ways to manage the stress of Christmas.

– Even the Archbishop of Canterbury has become involved in the discussion over Christmas expenditure. He has been reported as saying that many households plunge themselves into excessive debt, put pressure on their relationships and cause untold distress over trying to finance the perfect Christmas. His comments are an important observation on how extreme the pressure has become to make that one day or even the two-week Christmas period picture perfect at the expense, literally, of the family budget.

Many people prefer and appreciate less extravagant, more thoughtful gifts; indeed excessive present buying can be embarrassing and appear vulgar and indeed many shops are overwhelmed in January with the rush to return unwanted, unappreciated gifts. Why not utilise your local Christmas markets for unique, unusual items, hand make something special for the recipient or offer your time for baby sitting or DIY services; all things that will be valued as personal, thoughtful and less expensive financially.

– If you’re anticipating a houseful of guests over the holidays it’s worth planning ahead, drawing up menus, batch cooking in advance, planning some days where a hot-pot supper or chilli will be a less expensive and welcome alternative to the rich food and banqueting.

– Share the load. Ask people to bring their signature dish, provide an item or a bottle or two. Delegate duties like setting the table, preparing the vegetables, washing up. That way you may even have time for a relaxing bath and be also able to have fun yourself on the day.

Source local carol services, free events like markets and concerts, schedule in a brisk walk in the park or on the beach. Have board games and packs of cards to hand; they can provide hours of fun and are a welcome alternative to watching hours of television repeats.

– If you’re on your own why not make the most of having a free day or two. Plan treats for yourself. Have a lie in, plan your favourite meals, organise some trips out, note the films you want to watch, spend time reading a special book, have a leisurely bath with candles.

Also be ready to accept invitations. Other people may be so preoccupied with their own situation that they don’t fully appreciate that you’re on your own. If you get invited somewhere really consider accepting the offer. You may be perfectly fine on your own, but sometimes it is good to make the effort, move out of your familiar environment and try something new. You never know, it may result in a new friendship, an unexpectedly pleasant afternoon.

Some of these ideas may help you to manage the stress of Christmas. Why not try some?

Susan Leigh is a Counsellor and Hypnotherapist who works with stressed individuals to promote confidence and self belief, with couples experiencing relationship difficulties to improve communications and understanding and with business clients to support the health and motivation levels of individuals and teams.

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