The festive season can be a stressful time of the year for even the calmest of people. Are you feeling the pressure from the family’s demands, the crowded shops and plans for festivities? What can you do to keep feelings of stress and anxiety at bay over Christmas and the New Year?
Here are some ideas that will help you to glide through the festive period without stress or anxiety.
Take good care of yourself
You may easily find yourself rushing around to make sure everyone is looked after and has the right gift, but you need to look after yourself as a priority. This means remaining self-aware: Are you tired? Are you hungry or thirsty? Are you feeling uptight or stressed? Sometimes, you just have to re-prioritise and even say ‘no’ or ‘not now’. Looking after your own needs is not selfish; it is important for your wellbeing, and a prerequisite for caring for others too.
Making plans and preparations may give yourself a sense of control over what can be a stressful and frenzied time. However, where families are concerned, there may be the possibility of postponements, delays, unexpected extra guests – and lots of other dramas that may scupper your best laid plans. The antidote to this is to be flexible. So what if you have an extra mouth to feed, or that people are arriving later than promised? A sense of humour and a laid-back cheer is more important than a regimented timetable. So – do some essential preparations and then relax.
Drink and be merry?
Alcohol may ease anxiety and create bonhomie for a short while, but consuming too much and that morning-after feeling are both unpleasant prices to pay. Keep to the odd glass of your favourite tipple or even better, alcohol free. Most of all, drink plenty of water. Many things can trigger anxiety – and dehydration is one of them. When our bodies are dehydrated, they do not function well. Water makes up on average 60 – 70% of the human body, and it carries hormones and nutrients to their destinations. When fluid consumption is reduced, this procedure starts to slow down and can cause many problems.
TV advertisements and social media can have the power to make us feel as if we are never good enough. Looking at those pictures or reading the posts of perfect families having their perfect Christmas around the sparkling tree or at laden tables of food can have the effect of dampening our spirits – feeling as if our own Christmas is far inferior. If you know that the comparison game leaves you feeling down in the dumps, avoid this way of thinking. Looking around your own life and being grateful for what you have – and not feeling envious of an artificially created lifestyle – is the way to feeling happy and contented.