What is causing stress? Stress is always caused by a combination of mindset, expectations of yourself and others and flexibility. If you change your mindset, have low or no expectations and are more ‘going with the flow’ your stress levels will immediately drop.
When it comes to Xmas there is a strong external pressure to live up to the ‘fairytale’ and make it perfect. But that is not real life……
Expectations are built on previous experiences and often it is really refreshing to create new experiences and free yourself from the old
Let’s consider the different elements of Xmas and how to make the stress less.
Emotional disposition: All presents you buy come from a place of love, which is what counts. The execution is less important.
- Get a theme this year and give presents as part of the theme. It could be candles, skincare, scarfs, for man ties, chocolate, cufflinks….. Really, it doesn’t matter. What does matter you have done the major thinking and decision of ‘what to buy’ and you just tailor it for the individual.
- Buy presents and let them be wrapped. Lots of online providers offer a wrapping service.
- For kids: collect a range of presents, use tissue paper and some sellotape and give them all a BIG BAG for themselves
Emotional disposition: Eating together is what counts, more than offering ‘the perfect dish’. Choose tasty but easy to prepare dishes.
- Breakfast: there are some brilliant hot dishes out there, which only take a few minutes to prepare, look stunning and are very tasty (I have a recipe if you are interested).
- If the kids want basic ‘crap’, just let them have it. It makes them happy and it is easy for you.
- Lunch: how much food do you need? Usually there is way too much on the table.
Share the load and give different people different jobs: one will do all the vegs, someone is in charge of dessert, another one is doing the cheese etc.
Get as much prepared food as possible and order way ahead. Choose an early pickup time to avoid long waiting times.
Only use throw away cooking trays, so the washing up is limited.
- In between or ongoing: can you prepare a buffet-style range of snacks? Anyone can take what they want and top-up is easy.
Emotional disposition: Let’s have fun and be together. Even though the house will not look as good and clean as you want it, as long as there is a seat for each bum, candles glowing and Xmas decorations it will be fine.
- Get Xmas toiletpaper and kitchentowel for an extra atmosphere
- Have real candles if that feels safe or buy those tea lights with a battery and put them everywhere. They glow and will hide dust and dirt and just make everything look cosy
- Do a quick sweep after the presents, same after breakfast and lunch. Remember as long as it looks all right, it doesn’t need to be clean or organised
Emotional disposition: Relax, be yourself and enjoy. Don’t even try to be perfect. Did you know that 7 is the new 10?
- If you worry about putting on the pounds, remember that 1 day of indulgence doesn’t have a great impact. However, 3 days or more will. Choose when you go for it and be careful at other times
- Keep an exercise regime going if exercise is your thing, create time to read and relax and allow the days to unfold. Remember that it is a holiday for everybody and that includes you
- Don’t try to control what happens and ‘it’s my way or the high way’ attitude is not going to serve your stress levels. Accept that everyone has their own ways and don’t fight it
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