Christmas is typically one of the most stressful events of the year. The expense of buying gifts, the pressure of last minute shopping, and the heightened expectations of family togetherness can all combine to undermine our best intentions. Some practical suggestions can help you reduce your ‘Christmas stress’.
According to a recent study by Roy Morgan Research, around 60 per cent of Australians dislike Christmas shopping, just 20 per cent plan their shopping expeditions, and the majority of us (nearly 75 per cent) often come home without a single purchase for our efforts.
Stress reduction strategies for successful Christmas shopping include:
- Make a list of all the gifts you wish to buy before you go shopping. If you wait for inspiration to strike, you could be wandering aimlessly around the shopping centre for hours. Perhaps you could get to know the interests of family and friends to help you when choosing gifts.
- Buy a few extras, such as chocolates, just in case you forget somebody or you have unexpected guests bearing gifts.
- Buy your gifts by mail catalogue or over the Internet. Some companies will also gift-wrap and post your presents for a small additional fee.
The Christmas lunch (or dinner)
Preparing a meal for family and friends can be enjoyable but tiring and stressful at the same time.
Some tips to reduce the stress of Christmas cooking include:
- If you are having Christmas at your house, delegate tasks. You don’t need to do everything yourself.
- Consider keeping it simple – for instance, you could always arrange for a ‘buffet’ lunch, where everybody brings a plate.
- Make a list of food and ingredients needed. Buy as many non-perishable food items as you can in advance – supermarkets on Christmas Eve are generally extremely busy.
- Write a Christmas Day timetable.
Stress, anxiety, and depression are common during the festive season. If nothing else, reassure yourself that these feelings are normal.
Stress reduction strategies include:
- Don’t expect miracles. If you and certain family members bicker all year long, you can be sure there’ll be tension at Christmas gatherings.
- Avoid known triggers. For example, if politics is a touchy subject in your family, don’t talk about it. If someone brings up the topic, use distraction and quickly move on to something else to talk about.
- Use relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or focusing on your breath to cope with anxiety or tension.
- Family members involved in after-lunch activities (such as cricket on the back lawn) may be less likely to get into arguments. Plan for something to do as a group after lunch if necessary.
- People under stress tend to ‘self-medicate’ with alcohol, cigarettes and other drugs. Try to remember that drugs can’t solve problems or alleviate stress in the long term.
General health and wellbeing
Some other ways to keep your stress levels down include:
- Try to be moderate – it may be the season to be jolly, but too much food and alcohol is harmful. Drink driving is a real danger and is illegal. If you can’t (or don’t want to) step off the social merry-go-round, at least try to eat and drink in moderation.
- Get enough sleep – plan for as many early nights as you can.
- Keep moving – keeping up your regular exercise routine can give you the fitness and stamina to make it through the demands of the festive season.
Where to get help
- Your local counsellor
- Call Samaritans 13 52 47
- Call Lifeline 13 11 14
- Contact your church’s pastor or priest
- Your GP
If you feel that you need extra support this Christmas and would like to speak with a counsellor in Perth or would like further information on counselling services or Psychologists Perth, contact us today.Article Title: Christmas – Tips to Reduce Stress
Article By: Vision Counselling and Psychology, Perth Western Australia
Web Address: www.visioncounselling.com.au
Published: 29/10/2015 Reference: www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au Image reference: Dollar Photo Club