Tis’ the season to be jolly, except that it’s not always as jolly as the TV ad’s would like it to be. We are off work, we have a lot of free time and we get to sloth out in front of the TV with beer and chocolate for what seems like days on end. It’s a great time for us to rest, relax an unwind except there are also seems to be many more moments in that little holiday period, that can be more stressful than the whole year put together.
Throw in family, free time, alcohol, gifts and a dash of boredom and we have the perfect concoction for some stressful days.
Sometimes we might think that the best way to avoid Christmas stress is to say no to all family plans and pretend to be away. But actually, not so. Ideally the best way to handle stress is to face the fear and do it anyway and your mind is right, these times can be joyful.
So here’s some top tips to stress less over Christmas.

  1. Throw away your manual. You know what I mean. We all have a manual. It goes something like this;  I arrive early so you should do the same. I give great presents so you should do the same.  I never leave a party before midnight so you should do the same.  I would never say those things so you should do the same.   Get my drift? The thing with having a manual is that you are giving yourself the unwanted present of self-induced stress. So if you get rid of your manual, remembering that everyone does things differently and it might not be ‘wrong’, you will find your stress dramatically decreases.
  2. Let it go. This season it would be helpful to remember that whoever you are spending time with is always doing or saying what they know to do best in that very moment. Sometimes we think because we ‘know better’ they should too but ultimately we are all doing the best we can with what we have. Some people just ‘cant’ and that doesn’t mean they don’t want to, it just simply means they can’t.
  3. De-personalise. Stop taking everything personally this Christmas and try a different mantra, something like ‘that might not be about me’. For example if someone at the dinner table is slightly envious of your upcoming Christmas trip or a recent work promotion and gives a little snarl, remember, that has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. Rise above.
  4. Be in the moment. So many of us are walking around unconscious. We get excited to get time off work and have some chill time and in a flash it is over and we are at our desks on January 3rd like, where did that go?  Being in the moment means getting conscious of the moment.  Life can pass by pretty quickly and special times can go in a flash so this season make sure you are really there in mind and body, really take in all the amazing moments and find the joy in those times.  Joy is easy when you are conscious.
  5. Gratitude is the right attitude not only over chirstmas but in life. Its very hard to be stressed or miserable if you feel grateful. Family may be tricky but the fact is you are lucky to be able to spend time with those you love even if they have different opinions. Its so easy to look at the negative but when you really understand how powerful gratitude is, how it changes your attitude in an instant, it will really make you think twice. Life is precious, time is precious so be grateful for what you have. It changes everything.

So this Christmas I want you to remember that love always feels better than hate, anger or frustration.  But then you already know that. Choose the good feelings – it’s the best gift you could give yourself.
Merry Christmas!