The amount of stress that comes with the annual celebration of the birth of a baby is incredible. Setting expectations, managing them, creating positive situations and happiness, it can be all a bit much.
Having grown up in the Netherlands, I never experienced the frenzy of an English Xmas and the strong emotions that go with it. ‘The dreaded X word’ was unknown to me and the dread is still unfamiliar, as I don’t buy into the hype, the expectations and obligations. Lucky me.
But for all of you who are filled with dread, I put together 20 tips that will help you to get through.
If XMAS is getting on top of you, go through the following list, be open-minded and consider every single tip to be helpful and find a way of applying it. The tips are addressing all different stress triggers: practical and emotional. The ones that apply to everybody and are ongoing, are marked bold and KEY. Depending on your stress personality, you will notice some tips are not for you, as you are already doing the stress-free actions, where other tips will be spot on and help you to create a stress-free zone.
Buy a nice little notebook, or reporters bloc, and use that for all your Xmas related ideas, things to do list, etc. Make sure it fits in your handbag because this is your ‘bible’ for the coming weeks.
Write everything related to Xmas in your booklet; even little remarks, ideas for presents, a website, anything that comes up. With all your notes in one place, you will never lose anything.
Make a ThingsToDo list every evening before you go to bed. That way you make the most of your time the next day and it gives a sense of control.
4. List your main concerns and take time to think them through. How much is down to you, how much is down to circumstances, is there anything you can do to lighten the concern? If so, do it. If not, let it rest and let it be. Don’t worry about it until it is a reality.
Make yourself a priority: do something for yourself every day. It is not a sin to provide a pizzameal once a week because that gave you the opportunity to do something enjoyable….
6. Get fresh air every day.
Throw perfectionism out of the window: when it is good enough it is good enough.
8. Share the load; anything that someone else can do, let them; like driving the kids to the disco.
9. Watch your relationship. There is a peak in marriage breakups just after the holidays. Make sure it is not yours.
10. Create a budget and stick to it.
11. Find new outlets for presents; Poundland and Tiger are brilliant for finding fun stuff that doesn’t cost the earth; online shopping is a real time and money saver.
12. Try to do something every day and tick it off in your booklet.
13. Avoid massive tasks, that take up a lot of time. So, don’t go on one single shopping expedition to sort everybody out. You will spend more, buy the wrong things, feel exhausted and have to go back to exchange anyway.
Be aware of how you talk to yourself about XMAS; replace negativity with positivity.
15. Become Teflon, not Velcro; if something negative happens, try not to stick to it, but let it slide off you.
16. Take every day as it comes, practice gratitude and smile.
17. When you feel that stress is getting at you, step out of the ‘stress-zone’ into the ‘zen-zone’. Not only take time out by doing a brief meditation, also change the physical space you are in.
If you have a choice, choose the easy option. Choose throw-away pans for roasting the turkey, order your presents online and have them wrapped, etc.
19. When in doubt about other people’s choice, just buy yourself a few presents and sneak them under the tree. It feels good to get something you ‘could have chosen yourself’
There is nothing wrong with saying no. Before you say yes, consider all your options and you might end up saying no
This list gives you plenty of ideas and inspiration to ‘crack’ the holiday season and have a wonderful time, during preparation and during XMAS itself. Let me know which ones really work for you and also, you might have some to add.