It’s 7 days until Christmas and yet, I’m willing to bet many of you are feeling the holiday burnout already! For some reason, regardless of whether we’re actually interested in the birth of Jesus Christ or not (which really doesn’t have much to do with Christmas anyway but that’s a blog post for another time…), come holiday season, we all seem to lose our minds somewhat. We eat and drink to excess, fill our calendars ’til there’s no room left to breathe and spend money we don’t have on presents others will use for a few months and then forget. All with the justification ‘oh well, it’s Christmas!’🤶🏾
While some of these strange traditions do bring us joy and others are obligations we might not be able to get away from, here are 3 things we can do to reduce holiday stress this Christmas.
1. Say ‘no’.
As the year comes to an end, it seems imperative that we meet for dinner or drinks with absolutely everyone before we all go ‘home home’ for Christmas. But, why? If we haven’t bothered to see each other for the last 6 months, surely we can wait an extra week? 😅 Of course, there are some close friends and family we’ll want to see to celebrate the festive period, and there are Christmas parties galore to attend. But if we cleared our calendar of all those events that we ‘should’ attend and kept only the ‘can’t wait to’ attend events, we’d save ourselves a lot of stress! Christmas overwhelm is a real thing, and by making sure we have some downtime to ourselves, we can avoid feelings of anxiety and exhaustion.
2. Be kind.
Of course, we should be kind to others, especially as the festive period can be one of intense pain, loneliness and grief for many who may have lost a loved one this year, or in previous years around Christmas. But we must also remember to be kind to ourselves. There is so much guilt associated with this time of the year. As Dr. Christiane Northrup states, guilt comes from a feeling of not doing enough. So where does this come up for you? Maybe you feel guilty for not being healthy enough (but with so many goodies that only come around at this time of year – I’m looking at you pigs-in-blankets – who can blame you?). Maybe you feel guilty for not being able to get ‘good enough’ presents for your family (but if it’s a choice between ‘better’ presents and your financial & emotional wellbeing, which would they honestly prefer?). Whatever actions you’re using to prove to yourself that you’re not enough, let them go. You’re human and your life is not linear. If you’re not happy with the action, no problem – you can change it! That’s what the new year is for, right? 😏 But you do not need to feel guilty – that’s unfair to you and also unfair to your loved ones as you won’t be fully present with them if you’re too busy internally berating yourself. Cut yourself some slack this Christmas, you deserve it 🙏
Being at home for Christmas – whatever that means for you – is the perfect time to give yourself a digital detox. I don’t believe that full on restriction is the way to go – you’ll just end up feeling deprived, or (needlessly) feeling like a massive failure if you cave and check your phone. Instead, why not make a conscious effort to spend less time on the tiny computer that runs your whole life – especially when it comes to social media. Scrolling Instagram is an easy coping mechanism for stress or boredom during this time but, while it may give you an instant reward, the longer term effect is lower mood and higher anxiety. We end up comparing our Christmas to everyone else’s ‘perfect airbrushed Christmas‘ leading to us feeling less grateful and more inadequate – not quite the Christmas cheer you see in the movies 😓 So, put your phone on Do Not Disturb, save the Insta stories for evening instead of uploading throughout the day, and be present with your loved ones this Christmas.
Do you have any other tips for reducing stress during the holiday season? Please do share them in the comments!