Yes it is nearly 'that' time of year again. Though potentially a very high stress time, to me, the holiday season is a time full of love, peace and joy.
I have plans underway for gathering the family together for Christmas, dates are being set, flights are being booked and my 'to do' lists are long.....
The shops all have their 'Buy me! Buy now! Buy buy buy!' Christmas stock in, and the media are aleady beginning to hit us with festive season advertising. Buy Buy BUY!
I admit to generally being a bit of a Christmas fairy, but sometimes the thought of all the work and expense does make me want to scream!
Does it feel like that for you too?
So here are some tips to help keep the stress down:
Commit to doing some form of active relaxation each and every day, from today. This may be a short yoga session, 10 minutes meditation, mindfulness or deep abdominal breathing practice.
Recognise that stress is a reaction to pressure. Identify what the pressures on you are. Often they are financial at this time of year. Suggest to your family that you put a price limit on presents, as it is the thought that counts! Consider home made gift certificates or vouchers. Gift a massage from you, a homecooked dinner for two to be delivered at their doorstep at a time of their choice, or gift 2 hrs of handy(wo)man, housework or gardening activity.......
Agree with family to run a secret santa instead of buying for everyone. Set a price limit to buy one gift each for a specific person. Put all the participating family names into a hat and have a written list of all the family, draw a name from the hat and allocate it to the first on the list. Continue until the hat is empty and the list is full. Of course there is a chance you will need to redraw if the giver and reciever accidentally are drawn.
Write a timeline of all the tasks involved in organising your Christmas, (include food shopping and cooking). Divide these into those tasks that can be done in advance and those that need to be done at the last minute. Be realistic, if there are going to be too many last minute jobs, you may have to rethink or allocate some tasks to others.
Be organised. Divide the tasks that can be done in advance over the weeks leading up to Christmas. Spreading the shopping expenses over 1- 2 months will not feel so hard on the budget. Place your list in a handy and visible place (e.g. on the fridge) and use it as your guide. Examples of tasks include: