5 Tips for Reducing Stress at Christmas
Do you need to maintain your sanity during the festive season? Here are 5 practical tips for reducing stress at Christmas.
Practical tips to maintain your sanity during the festive season
Everyone knows this is a time of the year that can be very stressful. So, if you want to know how you can reduce stress at Christmas here are my recommendations.
These are simple, practical and timeless ideas yet they are so often overlooked or brushed aside. It's a good idea however to consider them before those feelings of overwhelm or stress sets in. It's always wise to be prepared!
Tip 1: Get sufficient quality sleep:
When there's so much to prepare, as is often the case before Christmas, you may find that you're getting to bed later and cutting down on valuable sleep.
Later nights and subsequent reduction in sleep duration will quickly begin to show. Just one or two nights of reduced sleep is all it takes to bring about physical and mental impairment.
When sleep deprived, you’re more likely to feel irritated, lack concentration and affect good decision making. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t ever ‘catch up’ on sleep – once it’s lost, it’s lost!
Getting adequate rest is probably the most important thing anyone can do to support themselves in their life, whatever the time of year.
Tip 2: Recognise when you are stressed and take steps to reduce it:
The symptoms of stress are many and vary from person to person. But if you are feeling rushed and a bit panicky, overwhelmed or irritable and you can't think straight, these are often signs of stress. Physical signs are muscle tension, headaches, palpitations and even digestive discomfort, to name a few.
However, if you do have any unusual physical symptoms that don't go away after rest or relaxation, it's always a good idea to check in with your doctor.
When any of the above mentioned signs and symptoms show up, it's often a signal that you’re overreaching your particular stress level. Everyone has differing levels of tolerance to stressful events and situations but taking action as soon as you notice them is key.
Some steps you could be taking are to sit down for a few minutes or do some deep breathing. Either of these two simple actions are extremely effective.
Maybe you can schedule in a relaxing bath for later that day. Or give yourself a break by taking time out for a chat and a laugh with a friend, which is also an effective tonic.
Being mindful of your stress levels is important for your health and well being at any time and especially during Christmas and the holiday season.
By taking appropriate steps to counteract stress and regroup will undoubtedly see you through this extra busy time of year.
Tip 3: Lower the demands upon yourself:
If you are a bit of a perfectionist this one is especially for you!
There’s nothing wrong with wanting things to be done well (speaks the perfectionist writing this!) but it's good to sometimes ask yourself, "Is what I'm doing absolutely necessary?"
Here are some examples...
- Is that extra trip to the shop absolutely essential, today at least?
- Could you ask someone else to help you in some way? Perfectionists are so reluctant to ask for help. We like to think that only we can do the job properly, or that it's just quicker to do it yourself. That may be so but at what cost?
- Do you really need to re-decorate the house and change the furniture before Christmas... and will anyone really notice or care anyway?
Look for ways to reduce the pressure on yourself - they are there if you look for them. Once you get into the habit of managing your time well it will become second nature, which is invaluable at any time of the year and not just at Christmas.
Tip #4: Eat well and nourish your body
Tempting as it is, eating on the run and too much of the high sugar or convenience foods that are so easy to consume can end up having a detrimental effect upon your energy levels.
What's more, if you want to be feeling and looking your best in your Christmas attire, eating well now will pay off later.
Nutritious food need not be complicated or take a long time to prepare or cook. I do think that this is where planning your meals ahead of time helps greatly.
Tip #5: Visualise Your Day:
This is my favourite tip for getting through demanding times - not just at Christmas.
The reason that visualisation is so effective is because so often we miss-use the power of our imagination without realising we are doing so!
Let me explain...
You get up in the morning and immediately start thinking about all the things that you have to do. If you start to feel overwhelmed by a busy schedule, you're going to be visualising the negatives and worrying.
When you worry, your brain sends signals to other parts of your brain and body in an attempt to help you cope. It switches on your fight or flight mechanism and the more you worry, the stronger these signals become.
However, when you visualise things turning out well your brain has a different response. When you expect things to go well, chances are they will. If by chance something doesn't turn out so well, your positive attitude will help you to react and cope with the situation so much better.
If you want to know how to visualise your day or think you have difficulty in visualising then I will be writing about this fascinating topic in a future blog post.
To sum up...
By following some practical steps as I have mentioned here, you can keep stress before and during the Christmas season to a minimum and thereby enjoy it so much more.
The 5 steps once again are:
- Get sufficient quality sleep.
- Recognise when you are feeling stressed and take steps to reduce it.
- Lower the demands upon yourself.
- Eat Well and nourish your body.
- Visualise your day going well.
All that's left for me to say is have a magical Christmas and holiday season with these 5 tips for reducing stress at Christmas!