Even for those of us that adore Christmas and love the festivities it brings, we can still find this time of year stressful. While a little stress is okay, too much stress can decrease our enjoyment and have us feeling exhausted before the big day even arrives. Here are simple steps we can take to help reduce stress this Christmas:
1. Create and stick to a budget
For many of us, Christmas can be a time when, with the greatest of intentions we find ourselves overspending. Creating a budget can help prevent this and the associated stress that comes from financial pressures. Decide how much you can realistically afford to spend on Christmas this year and be sure to factor in costs that occur other than just gifts, like:
- tree, decorations, etc
- wrapping paper, cards etc
- travel costs (Ubers, taxis etc)
This simple and free online Christmas budget calculator can prompt you with the different categories of spending and help you work out a realistic total for your budget.
2. Make a plan
Planning ahead can help ease stress come Christmas time and it is never too late to create a plan. A plan can help you sort out what needs to be done and when. Simply writing down everything you need to do can help reduce stress as you no longer feel the need to have to remember it all!
If you are not sure even where to start when it comes to planning for Christmas then use the list of tasks below to create your plan:
- Create a Christmas preparation checklist - modify this list to suit your needs!
- Set up and decorate the Christmas tree
- Conduct Christmas supplies audit (wrapping, presents stashed away etc). Make sure you know what you have before you start buying anything.
- Update or create Christmas budget
- Make or buy Christmas tags
- Buy or source Christmas wrapping paper
- Buy or source sticky tape / ribbons / bows etc
- Set up a wrapping caddy
- Create a Christmas present ideas list for family and start purchasing gifts
- Create a Christmas present ideas list for friends and start purchasing gifts
- Make sure your calendar is up to date and block out times in your calendar for Christmas planning and preparation activities. If it isn't scheduled it is unlikely to get done!
- If hosting create a Christmas menu plan
- Create a work plan for the weeks leading up to Christmas to create the menu plan - the more you can do a head the better
- Make a donation to your favourite charity
- Make or purchase Christmas crackers if required
- Wrap presents
- Stock up the pantry
- Stock up the drinks cabinet and include some Adapt Drinks - they are perfect for helping to reduce stress!
- Make homemade Christmas food gifts if this is your thing.
- Create Christmas week work plan
- Create Christmas day work plan
- Make a Christmas playlist or follow this one we created - An Australian Christmas playlist
- Take a family Christmas photo
- Put the stockings out for Santa
- Leave Santa a drink and snack and something for the reindeers
- Enjoy your family Christmas traditions
You can find a free spreadsheet to download with these tasks and more to download here - Christmas planning and preparation checklist (including last minute checklist!).
3. Delegate to others
Delegating tasks can be a great way to maximise efficiency and minimise stress. Once you have created your plan you can then take advantage of your family's talents and enlist their help for tasks such as baking, shopping, wrapping presents, and decorating. Don't make the mistake of trying to do it all yourself. When people ask what they can do to help or what they can bring, check your list/s and give them some options!
4. Keep your healthy habits
With the hustle and bustle of the Christmas period, it can be easy to let your healthy habits slide. Remind yourself of why you do them in the first place - they help you feel better and manage stress! Make sure to get enough sleep, eat nutritious meals, and exercise regularly. This will help ensure you stay energised and in a good mood for the festivities.
- Get enough sleep: 🌙
- Eat nutritious meals: 🍎
- Exercise regularly: 🏃
- Set aside time for relaxation 🧘
- Take breaks throughout the season: 💆
5. Make time for meditation or NSDR
If you are thinking you can't make time for meditation, think again! Even a very short mediation session can help you. Undertaking a regular meditation practice has been shown to improve mental clarity, reduce stress, and help foster positive emotions. Taking as little as five to ten minutes each day to focus on your breathing, relax your body and mind, and practice mindfulness can have a profoundly positive effect on your wellbeing.
If you are new to meditation and would like to try some guided meditations, then check out our post 7 guided meditations to help you relax.
While you maybe familiar with meditation, you may not have heard of the concept of Non-Sleep Deep Rest (NSDR). NSDR is a powerful tool that can allow you to control the relaxation state of your nervous system and your overall state of mind. It takes advantage of the fact that specific forms of breathing place us into a state of deep relaxation by slowing our heart rate down.
In this video #NSDR (Non-Sleep Deep Rest) with Dr. Andrew Huberman Stanford neuroscientist, Andrew Huberman guides you through a Non-Sleep Deep Rest protocol (NSDR) in 10 minutes.
And remember you have the power to say "no thanks" over the Christmas period! There are so many wonderful opportunities to get together and celebrate but people understand that it is a busy time of year. It saying "no thanks" will help reduce your stress levels, then that might be the right answer.