The festive season is here already, where did that year even go? Does the thought fill you with tingles of excitement, or quickly bring on a throbbing headache? Most likely it’s a little bit of both. If you are a parent, seeing the magic of Christmas through your little one’s eyes can be a heartwarming experience. But there’s often a lot to prepare before you get a chance to relax into it. Let us take out some of the stress by offering you a platter of creative solutions.
If you haven’t already - start now
Decorations, cards, presents, food, guests, festivities – there’s a lot to plan! Get out your diary and begin to slot in which events are taking place when, even down to the smaller details, like when you will decorate the house and shop for presents and food. You may need to order particular items, such as turkey, by a specific date. If you are doing the catering, make a list of all the people that will attend and whether they have any dietary requirements.
Delegate and outsource
Too many tasks and not enough hours? Enlist the help of others. One idea is to send each adult round to one particular store with a list of what to buy, to avoid you throwing yourself in a hundred different directions. You can also get your small people involved by putting them in charge of tasks like the decorations. Consider doing your food shopping online or advance booking a table at a restaurant to take out the stress of catering.
A stress-free way to have Christmas catered for is to arrange for every family, group, or individual attending to bring one or two dishes each for a potluck style buffet lunch. Or, if you’d prefer not to end up with four potato salads, come up with a list of desired sides and allocate them accordingly.
Consume with intention
The term “consume” refers not only to what you put into your body but also to the mindless purchases you make It is scientifically proven that a child’s thrill of opening presents involves a temporary rush of dopamine that very rarely lasts more than a couple of days.
One rule to go by to ensure each child only receives four gifts that have real meaning is “something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read.” You may ask them casually for their input, whilst still keeping the final reveal a secret!
A Secret Santa or pre-loved book exchange may work well for adults.
Ok, so Uncle Harry tells the lamest jokes and your mother-in-law has a habit of complaining – spending time with family whom we wouldn’t normally choose to spend time with can be stressful. Learn to appreciate their quirks as part of their unique make-up, rather than judging. As long as they are not becoming abusive or harming anyone, all is well. After all, it’s one short period in the year and it feels nice when everyone can come together to celebrate. Remember, you cannot control what others do or say, but you can control the way you react to it. Choose kindness.
Make time for self-care
In amongst running around for everybody else, don’t forget to focus on what you need! For instance, make time each day to meditate, even if it's only for 5 minutes, stretch your body, take a walk in nature, or enjoy a relaxing bath with Epson salts
Remember the reason for the season
We tend to get very caught up in our immediate bubble of family and friends. But you can mix it up if you want to! You could focus on being of service to your community by giving your time to a soup kitchen for the homeless. Alternatively, encourage your kids to donate their pre-cherished toys to those less fortunate or help you buy items for a food charity fundraiser. You may be surprised at the gift you get back – which is simply the feeling of a heart brimming with generosity.
Limit social media
There’s nothing wrong with a quick check-in to spread some virtual festive joy, but it goes without saying: when you’re already stressed, social media overkill will only flatten you like a pancake.
Understand that those expertly staged pictures of your co-worker’s holiday in Bali or an acquaintance’s perfect-looking family snaps are not likely showing you the full picture. -
Hold hands, not iPhones – and choose connection over emojis. If you’re extra lucky, that real life bonding will help replenish your serotonin levels for a smooth, stress-free transition into the new year and beyond!
For more fun tips to help you stay cool as a cucumber (while everyone else sweats bullets), perfect your skincare regime or fill your body with the fuel it loves, simply sign up for our mailing list.
Written by Zanna Taeni