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Dealing with the stress of Christmas

Here is a plan that will help you to relax a little more this Christmas and hopefully a good time will be had by all.

In theory, Christmas is a time filled with joy and celebration.

This is a joyous holiday when you get together with loved ones and catch up, exchange gifts and generally have a good time.

Unfortunately, in practice, it can be a time of great stress and unhappiness. There is so much to do and organise. Sometimes getting together with your extended family can be uncomfortable and even painful.

Here is a plan that will help you to relax a little more this Christmas and hopefully a good time will be had by all.

Christmas shopping. Don’t leave everything until the last moment. Rushing will just make you tired and more stressed.

  • Get your Christmas shopping done early so you don’t have to spend hours fighting other shoppers for the last doll or Christmas turkey.
  • Don’t overspend. It is very easy at Christmas time to spend too much and put yourself in a financial hole for a good part of the New Year. Decide before you go shopping how much you can afford to spend and stick to your budget.
  • Shopping early will help you stick to a budget as you will not be in the last minute panic, picking up anything that may be suitable regardless of the cost.
  • If money is a little tight for you or your family, there are ways you can reduce your spending costs. Together you could decide that all gifts should be handmade or second hand.
  • Or you could all decide that each of you will only buy for one other person. Decide between yourselves on an amount that everyone is to spend and then draw names out of a hat to see who you will shop for.
  • Wrap presents as soon as you can after buying them. This will leave one less thing to do on Christmas Eve.

Christmas cooking. Again planning is very important. You don’t have to do it all yourself. Ask members of your family to bring something along. This way the chore is shared among many and everyone can feel like they have contributed.

  • See what preparations can be made a few days before-hand. The plum pudding and mince tarts can be made weeks before-hand. Do what you can, but make sure everything is stored at a safe temperature.

Dealing with unpleasant relatives. At Christmas time we can be thrown together with people we are uncomfortable with. Do your best to be pleasant to them. Alcohol can increase your emotional reactions to any situation so only drink in moderation.

  • Make sure that you look after yourself with appropriate exercise, relaxation, sleep and a healthy diet on the days leading up to Christmas.

When we are feeling fit and energetic we are able to cope more easily with the ups and downs of life. However, if we are already feeling tired and stressed any little thing can overwhelm us and this can make Christmas day more tense and tiresome.

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