It comes at the same time every single year, yet Christmas always manages to surprise us no matter how prepared we think we’ve managed to be! There’s always so much to organize: presents to buy, trees to decorate, food to prepare, travel arrangements to manage, deciding on who’s sitting where, remembering so-and-so’s new girlfriend’s name: where, what, why, who and how! Just thinking about it makes the mind melt.
However, Christmas doesn’t have to get on top of you. The holidays should be the most wonderful time of the year, not the most stressful. So, we’ve hopped on our sleigh here at Cel and are flying down the chimney early to gift you with the best tips on managing the seasonal stress, and make sure you’re feeling special too!
Little doses of stress and worry are normal, and during the Holidays, you want everyone to have a good time - but this can mean you can forget about your own wellbeing and happiness over the festive period. Here at Cel, we’ve gathered 8 of the best and most natural tips together to help you prepare and conquer Christmas this year...
1. Let Go Of What You Can't Control
Weather. Traffic. Other people’s actions or choices. The sooner you make peace with this, the better! When we battle with the things we have absolutely no control over, we end up doing ourselves the most harm with excess stress and sadness: not what the festivities are about at all! If someone decides they can’t make it, or if you hit every red light on route to a family event - it’s OK. Give yourself permission now, to let it go if something like this happens.
2. Take Charge Of What You Can
Now, what can we take control of? Ourselves. You hold all the keys to your mental processes - you can be in charge of your breath and your own mind management. Make sure you take the time out to breath this Christmas. Your breath connects your mind and body and it can be your greatest ally in alleviating stress levels and keeping your feet on the ground.
3. Consider E-Cards
We’ve all looked at the holiday card list and wanted to shut our eyes on it. Why not consider an E-Card? A holiday greeting sent via email.
It doesn’t have to feel impersonal, and can still let your family and friends know that you’re thinking of them over this special time of year. Not only will it save you time and reduce stress, but it’s also way more eco-friendly. Over 2 billion Christmas cards are sent every year in the US - just think of all that extra air freight and mail truck gas - not to mention the amount of paper and poor trees used! There will also be no postage fee, so there’s more money left over in your pocket.
4. Game-Plan The Mall
One of the most dreaded places during this season, right? Well, it doesn’t have to be. Here are 5 quickfire helpful hints for when you're stressing about the shopping:
1. Download the mall map before you get there and plan your parking and shopping route.
2. Avoid excessive browsing, as this won’t serve your head or your pocket!
3. Seek the out-of-the-way cashier when it comes to buying. There’s always a hidden one in department stores who will be more than happy to ring up your purchases, minus the queue! Top tip: these cashiers are usually hidden at the back of the store.
4. If there’s free gift-wrapping - take it! It’s one less thing on the list, and one less thing weighing down your mind.
5. Oh, and leave that big handbag at home. Only bring out the essentials with you. No one needs extra physical weight when hauling gifts around the mall!
5. Hold On To Your Rituals
Our own everyday rituals sometimes slide during this season, and it’s amazing how much missing a daily behavior or action can influence negatively on our mental health. If you run every day, make sure you keep doing it. If you read for half an hour, maintain that priority.
Make sure that you also make time for yourself. It may seem impossible during the busy period, but you can find the odd moment of peace; whether it is during that much-needed shower or a quiet moment before bed. Getting in a few moments of self-care and pampering can do wonders for your body and mind during periods of stress. Why not head to bed half an hour earlier and treat yourself to a skin-nourishing Face Mask, helping your skin get that extra boost of moisture during the festive time. Remember, you are important, and your rituals can help you keep balanced and level headed.
6. Try To Get Some Sleep
Stress is notorious for causing insomnia. If you’re lying awake at night going over the endless list of holiday to-do’s in your head, you’re not going to be your best self the next day either. Take time away from screens an hour before bed, try to eat early so you’re not lying down on an uncomfortably full belly or maybe take a warm bath to unload your body and mind before settling under the covers.
7. Indulge In Moderation
Festive food and alcohol can leave us feeling lethargic and groggy, and it can do serious harm to our bodies when consumed excessively. However, it’s really hard to step away from the social calendar during December so if you can’t (or don’t want to!), make sure your food and drink choices are mindful and you drink water throughout. Alcohol can make you dehydrated and tired, and too much added sugar can cause blood sugar highs and lows, leaving you feeling more anxious and less able to handle stress. Moderating your consumption will only aid your mind’s clarity.
8. Ask For Help
It can be a really big thing to hand over a task to someone else but sometimes needs must. A lot of the time, your guests want to lend a hand and it can make them feel useful and part of the day. If you have an older relative staying, task them with answering the door. Get a good friend or partner to be on drinks duty. Make sure your teen tuckers your pet out on a long walk before lunch, and let your little ones ferry people to their seats when it comes to the big feast. These little helpers can relieve you of those extra stressors on the big day: so let them!