Dealing with Christmas Stress
1.Start planning for Christmas now. Give yourself adequate time. If you run out of time be flexible and choose easier options e.g. buy prepared food.
2.Give up unrealistic internal demands you make upon yourself such as, 'I must be the perfect organiser', or 'Everybody must enjoy themselves'. More flexible beliefs will trigger less stress when things go wrong, e.g. 'I'll just do my best to organise events within the time and resources I have, no more no less' or 'I'm not responsible for other peoples' enjoyment. They are responsible too'.
3.Ask yourself, 'Do I really have to visit everybody on Christmas day?' Consider spacing out visits.
4.Many children are up early on Christmas day. Accept that children can become over excited and tired. Attempt to pace activities throughout the day. Perhaps spread the rate at which they unwrap presents saving some for a little later.
5.Physical outdoor activity is excellent for children and adults. Assuming the weather is fine, take a short walk.
6.Challenge 'awfulising' i.e. 'It's awful' or 'It's terrible' or 'It's the end of the world'. 'De-awfulise by asking yourself, 'Is this really a hassle or a horror'. Seldom are the hassles of Christmas really horrors!
7.Escape from the family for a short break. Take a relaxing bath or read a book.
8.If all else fails, remember to keep your sense of humour!
©2015, Stephen Palmer, Centre for Stress Management