In theory, Christmas is a time that simply spills over with joy and celebration. It’s a joyous holiday when you get together with friends and family, catch up, exchange gifts, and generally have a merry ol’ time.
In reality though, it can be a time of great stress and unhappiness. There is so much to do and so much to organize. And sometimes getting together with extended family can be uncomfortable and even downright painful.
So here is a plan that will help you to relax a little more this Christmas and hopefully everyone will have a good time.
Don’t Swallow the Commercial or Hollywood Hype
Christmas isn’t about gorgeous decorations, unbelievably happy families, and expensive gifts. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to be perfect or feel ecstatically happy. The stores, commercials, malls, Martha Stewart shows and radio advertisements turn Christmas into a merchandising cash cow – they also make Christmas about being flawless and full of glitter. Don’t fall into that pit of despair, which will send you headlong into an even deeper Christmas depression.
Dealing with the Unpleasant Relatives
At Christmas time we can be thrown together with people that we would really rather not have anything to do with. Do your best to be pleasant to them but if they cross the line and say something that is rude, as they will, stay calm. Do not attack them back. Simply ignore the comment or, if necessary, let them know that you do not appreciate their comments and that you would rather hear positive comments about yourself and other members of your family.
Do your best not to let the comments of one person spoil your day. Try not to dwell on any negativity. Instead think about the things you are enjoying about the day and go and find someone you do get along well with and talk to them.
Keep realistic expectations
Don’t expect your mom to suddenly stop criticizing your choices, or your sister to stop boasting about her kids, or your granny to remember your name. Expect your family to be the same as they’ve always been – both good and bad – and you’ll be less likely to fall into a holiday funk.
Stay Active Over the Holiday Season
Getting enough exercise, oxygen, and fresh air will help lift the holiday blues. If you don’t have the energy or time to go for a workout, simply go for a walk. Take your kids, nieces, or nephews to the park or take a walk around the block by yourself. Surviving Christmas is easier when you’re active and breathing deeply.
Watch Your Alcohol Intake
Excessive drinking affects your physical, emotional, and spiritual health – and it can increase holiday stress. To avoid the blues at Christmas, limit yourself to a couple drinks a night – or eliminate alcohol altogether!
One final word
Make sure that you don’t skimp on sleep and be sure to keep a healthy diet on the days leading up to Christmas. When we are feeling rested and energetic we are able to cope so much more easily with the ups and downs of life. However, if we are already feeling tired and stressed, any little thing can overwhelm us and this can make Christmas day more tense and tiresome.
I’m interested in hearing about what has worked for you. What do you do to avoid becoming stressed out at Christmas? What helps you to maintain your sanity?
Have a great Christmas!