Six ways to stress less this holidays

Six-ways-to-stress-less-this-holidays

December may be full of fun parties, good food and long weekends, but the holiday season still comes with a lot of stress. Between family reunions, work functions, Christmas day preparation, decorating and shopping, the holidays can make us anxious, lethargic and reactive.

Rather than letting yourself continue the cycle of holiday stress, make the decision to revitalise the season for yourself. By changing your mindset and following these six steps, you can enjoy it a little more this year.

  1. Pre-plan

We’re mid-way through December, but you still have time to plan ahead. Instead of stressing about everything you ‘have’ to do, set yourself a schedule and delegate tasks to other family members. This might mean decorating early, asking your spouse to help with cooking, assigning seating at the table or shopping for gifts online.

By divvying up your responsibilities and setting a timeline for each, you give yourself the chance to breathe, enjoy or recover from each experience.

  1. Practice self-care

We all feel the weight of expectations during December. Parties, work break-ups and family functions are on every weekend, and it’s difficult to find ‘you’ time.

Make the conscious decision to practice self-care this year by setting a side time for yourself. Have a cup of coffee, going for a walk or read a good book.

Knowing that food and drink is plentiful this season, try to keep your every-day diet healthy as well. You can still indulge at events, but use this as a treat rather than an excuse to let your health fall by the wayside for a whole month.

  1. Don’t catastrophise relationships
    Without a doubt, the most stressful part of the holidays are seeing family members you’ve previously had conflict with. Talking to estranged spouses, ailing parents, in-laws or siblings can be difficult, especially when we hyper-focus on what ‘could’ happen instead of what will.

Rather than anticipating an argument erupting at the dinner table, imagine how you want the day to pan-out, and do everything on your part to make this come to pass.

This could mean shelving contentious issues or past grievances for the day, setting time limits on how long to spend at a function, or asking a loved-one to act as your buffer for the day.

  1. Be child-like

The holidays always had a certain ‘magic’ when we were children. The lights were brighter, the Christmas carols were sung louder, and the anticipation of receiving gifts made December the best month of the year. Unfortunately, as we grow up this wonder ceases, and it is difficult to find it again, but not impossible!

The key to finding your child-like wonder, free of stress and responsibilities, is embracing what you loved as a child. Make time to watch your favourite Christmas movie, play holiday music around the house, go Christmas light-hunting in your neighbourhood and decorate the tree as a family.

  1. Don’t do it alone

We feel a lot of responsibility during the holidays, and even the most avid party planner will feel overwhelmed by it. Despite what everyone (and your inner monologue) is telling you, Christmas festivities are not something you have to do alone.

Instead of carrying the season, spread your responsibilities around. Ask your spouse or partner for help, get the kids to make Christmas cards for the family, and ask a colleague to help organise a work function. You are allowed to be honest with the people around you, so if you feel stressed, let them know and ask for help.

  1. Be realistic

We can plan-ahead, hold back sarcastic comments and try to keep conversation light, but it’s not realistic to think the holidays will go perfectly. After a long day, old tension could arise, you might slip up, or grandma Ethel may feel compelled to say something about your current relationship or how you parent.

You can’t control everything at Christmas, but you can take responsibility for yourself. So be gracious to yourself and loved ones on the day, knowing that stress gets to all of us. Consider what ‘could’ happen, without dwelling on it, and know that when it’s over, you did the best you could.

Are you feeling stressed about the holidays? Do you need help navigating relationships this season? Here’s what you need to do: Contact us on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you or book online now.

5 Tips to Manage Stress Over the Holiday Season

5-Tips-to-Manage-Stress-Over-the-Holiday-SeasonAs much as the holiday season is full of fun and food, it invariably also involves people dynamics. This is great when we want to look like a picture perfect Hallmark greeting card of a family, but we all know this is simply not true. Below the surface of the grins, laughter and greetings of, “Look how you’ve grown!” there is often an undercurrent of stress, anxiety and misunderstanding. This is not to say we don’t love one another- we do. But whenever a group of people come together who are tightly bonded, conflict tends to surface because we are in a pressure cooker of a social situation. This knowledge alone is enough to make many of us dread festivities.

So, how do we handle stress over the holiday season and still enjoy the company of our loved ones? Here are 5 tips that can make it easier for you this December:

  1. Be prepared

If you are anxious about holiday preparation, gift shopping or seeing family, pre plan how you will go about these activities. If the stress of holiday shopping is traumatic for you, arrange for a friend to go with you and go earlier in the season to save yourself from the Christmas rush. In the same way, plan how and when you will decorate, prepare Christmas dinner and schedule in how long you will see Great Aunt Susie.

  1. Don’t make assumptions

Granted, it is hard not to pre-empt what other family members will think, do or say during the holidays, but if they have not vocalised a concern to you themselves, try not to assume their behaviour is an attack or criticism of you. You’ll find festivities a lot more enjoyable when you take people at their word rather than questioning the intent behind their questions and statements.

  1. Don’t create conflict

It sounds strange, but often when we feel stressed and out of place we can make sarcastic remarks, begin topical conversations and try and bait our relatives. There is certainly a healthy and humorous side to this, bit when this sarcasm is creating conflict and propelling the tension in the room, it is smart to hold back. Just because you are aware of a conflict no one is talking about, doesn’t mean you need to bring it up on Christmas Day.

  1. Deal with conflict

The amount of relationship issues and differences of opinion that arise over the holiday season can be astronomical. While we don’t want to create conflict by stirring the pot and bringing these out to the open, it is still important we actually deal with these issues. If you feel able to, meet with your family member one on one and discuss your concerns in an honest and loving way before Christmas Day. If you realise that this is useless and could in fact create more tension in your family, then perhaps you need to look at how you respond to that family member in order to keep conflict at bay and to protect yourself.

  1. Believe for the best

Instead of dreading holiday festivities, come with a positive mindset that things are going to work out. Speak positive affirmations to yourself like, “I am capable of doing this,” “I have control of this situation,” or “This moment will pass.” Share your concerns with your partner or a family member you are close to. Ultimately, remember that this is only a few weeks in the year and it will pass.

If you need help and/or support  in your couple relationship as you approach this holiday season, you can contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 for a free 10 minute consultation or book online now by going to the button marked ONLINE BOOKING.