Monitor your feelings
My first tip is to monitor your feelings. The holiday period can be a really stressful and demanding. It’s important to keep an eye on your stressors and triggers (find out how to identify those here) and how they impact your mood. That way, you can keep those to a minimum where possible. If you notice your mood declining, you can implement your coping skills.
Preparation really does make things so much easier. By shopping early you can avoid the crowds and often pick up some discounts. Being organised means you wont be rushing to cram everything in at the last minute. This will help reduce your stress and anxiety levels over the festive period.
Organise your medication for over the Christmas period
It can be difficult to get doctors appointments at this time of year. Also, in many places, pharmacies may be closed some days over the Christmas period. Make sure you’ve got enough medication to cover you over the holidays. Also not a bad idea to have some over the counter medication for cold, flu and stomach problems just in case anyone is unfortunate enough to need it.
It can be difficult being in stores at any time, but the crowds at Christmas could make anyone feel overwhelmed. Shopping online gives you the chance to find the best deals and have your presents delivered to your door. Loads of places will even gift wrap them too! If you’ve left it too late for delivery, you can always plan out what you need online and reserve things for collection. This will save you time if you do need to venture to the shops.
Breathing techniques can be very helpful in managing stress. It’s useful to practice them daily, particularly at this time of year. The 4 7 8 technique is one of the most popular. You breathe in for the count of 4. Hold for the count of 7. Finally, exhale for the count of 8.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself
It’s easy to put pressure on ourselves at this time of year. You want to buy presents people will enjoy. You don’t want to decline invitations. You want to cook dinner with all the trimmings and make sure there’s dessert for after too. However, doing too much and spreading ourselves too thin is a surefire way to end up feeling stressed out and exhausted. Everyone else will understand that you can’t do everything, so be understanding with yourself.
Manage your expectations
Many people expect Christmas to be this wonderful time just because it’s Christmas. The fact is, it’s another day of the year where things can and do go wrong. In reality, with people being stressed and tensions running high, it’s common for arguments to start. When we set our hopes too high for it to be a perfect day, we’re often left disappointed. So manage your expectations and remember that other people may be finding it a difficult day too.
Be mindful of alcohol consumption
‘Tis the season for overindulgence. It’s really important to be mindful of your alcohol consumption. No one wants to drunkenly embarrass themselves at a work party or in front of their family. Alcohol can also make you feel more depressed and have a very negative impact on mood. Plus, no one wants to deal with a hangover. Everything in moderation.
Take some time for yourself
Take time out for yourself over the holidays. It might be a day where you snuggle up in bed with cheesy movies and a cheesy pizza to go with. Or it might be a ten minute walk to clear your head when things are stressful. Regardless, it’s important to have some you time during this hectic period.
Talk to those you’re spending the holidays with
It’s always easier if the people around you know that you’re struggling. Talk to the people you’ll be spending time with so they’ll be more understanding if you need a break. If you don’t have anyone to turn to, you’re always welcome to use the forums or chat here. There are plenty of members who understand.
Learn to say no if you need to
It’s okay to say no. If you find it difficult to go to work parties, or to be at home with your family – that’s okay. You’re allowed to put yourself first, especially when it comes to your health. So say no if you need to.
No matter where you are or what you’re doing for Christmas, and the rest of the holidays, try to make the most of it. You can always join us on the forums or in chat if you need some company during this period. We even have an anti-Christmas room. Wishing you all a happy and healthy Christmas!