It’s the most wonderful time of the year, Christmas! During the holidays, one song comes to mind. Truly, there is something about the holidays, especially Christmas, that brings joy and hope to everyone. Christmas stress should not get in the way of our plans for the holiday season. Yes, times are hard. Holiday shopping will be rather different this year since we are still in the middle of a raging pandemic. Some lost their jobs. Some have had their hours cut, which affects income for the family. The whole situation is just stressful! The limited movement imposed for safety reasons may have dampened our holiday spirits a bit? So how about we discuss ways on how to have a stress free Christmas season for good mental health.
Plan Ahead of Time to Reduce Stress during Christmas
Nobody likes to feel pressured, chased for time. This is consistent, all the more during the holidays. People with mental health conditions do not need the added burden. Let us limit our Christmas season holiday stress by thinking of things we need to buy ahead of time. We must also do our research early. Nothing is more stressful than maxing out our credit cards or going broke during the holidays. Do we plan on taking a trip? Planning ahead as to venue, cost, and going on a budget is very important.
Tidy House, Tidy Mind
A messy house may clutter the mind. Christmas season holiday stress can also be brought about by having to endlessly clean after a house gathering. Let’s say we manage to have a stress-free Christmas shopping, but after the opening of gifts, we see trash everywhere. This is particularly annoying for those with mental health conditions that are affiliated with keeping things in order. Some people with mental health conditions like OCD and OCPD worry about order, placement and cleanliness.
Watch Your Spending
Some say, “Christmas is too stressful.” Have you heard people say this? If yes, are they referring to spending? Probably. During the holidays, people spend. During holiday gatherings, we spend extra on food. We buy unnecessary things or unuseful gifts. We spend on trips. As far as gifts are concerned, splurging on gadgets, clothes, and toys would not be wise, especially in the middle of a pandemic. Christmas stress often comes from not having money past the holiday season. Therefore, plan ahead, look for the best deals, and spend wisely for stress-free shopping during this Christmas.
Christmas season holiday stress can also come from having conflict between members of the family. You may even find yourself dreading the fact that you need to see a relative you had a fall out within a week’s time. So, what do you do? If we do not feel like seeing people we are not in good terms with, we can use the pandemic as a reason not to attend. However, that excuse is only good for this Christmas. We’d have to either fix the relationship or come up with another reasonable excuse by next year’s holiday season. Instead, consider speaking to your counsellor or psychologist leading up to Christmas on how to best manage conflict.
Consider eCards as an Option
To save from any unnecessary travels, which is unsafe at this time, how about sending eCards? This is a way cheaper option to keep in touch with your family and friends. It is a safe and cheap way to nurture our relationships during a time when things are still unstable due to the pandemic.
Homemade gifts do give a touch of personalization. People in general love receiving gifts, but it becomes extra special when it is personalised. Creating gifts together, especially if we have little ones, is also a great way to bond with our children. It’s a perfect way to re-connect to who and what’s important, and that is family and friends.
Spend Time with the Family
Being alone over time affects our mental health. After all, Christmas is too stressful when spent alone. Most people enjoy seeing friends and family. Often for work or other reasons we are away from loved ones. Christmas is a time to reconnect. Make time over the holidays to catch up. Enjoy a dinner, go fishing or play a card game with your family.
The Christmas season holiday stress some may feel can be lessened by being grateful. Sure, not a lot of things we want, desire, or need is readily available for us, but being alive is something to be grateful about. Let’s encourage each other to be mindful. Often, people forget that Christmas is not about gifts (though, receiving and giving gifts are nice), that is not what Christmas is all about. However, we cannot discount the fact that some people will just not be feeling the holiday spirit due to various reasons that Christmas stress has brought about. Instead, take a moment to count the good things happening for and around us.
Relax… be stress-free
Christmas is a busy affair, especially when you include shopping, thus it is important to stay stress-free to truly enjoy this festive season. December is an opportunity to rest and recharge. People often have time off at the end of the year. Life in general, but also work and studies over the year can leave us feeling drained. Therefore, taking time off during the quiet part of the year can reduce stress. Furthermore, it will help us with next year’s challenges. Relaxation can limit the holiday stress of this Christmas season.
Have Healthy Boundaries
Christmas is busy. December often means catching up with people. For the most part, this is a good thing. It allows us to reconnect with friends and family. However, our friends and family can push our buttons, and this may trigger stress during Christmas. They might overshare, hurt our feelings, or ignore us. Having good and healthy boundaries during Christmas season is important, especially for your mental health. If we feel sad, anxious, or triggered when around certain people, take note. It is important we maintain healthy distances when catching up over the holidays.
Enjoy the Good Weather
Over the Christmas and New Year period, Australia has some of its warmest weather. Take the time to go outdoors. Enjoy spending time in nature. Think about your interest and old hobbies. Often the quieter Christmas period is a good time to reconnect with old passions. During this Christmas remember that your mental health is important. We may even want to consider online purchases for stress-free Christmas shopping from a sunny park bench!
Pause and Reflect
This holiday period is an excellent time to recap the past twelve months. Think about your ups and downs. What are you most thankful for from the recent past? December is a quieter month. Often we need that quietness to get away and think. It has been a stressful year for most of us. Therefore, taking that time to reflect on the past year is even more needed. Maintaining a healthy balance is a must to protect our mental health during Christmas time.
At times, special holidays, dates and occasions bring out a sense of loneliness in some people. Often, those who are experiencing some type of mental health condition suffers the most. It is also sad to know that most suffer in silence. If you are those who feel like Christmas is too stressful, perhaps this is a sign that something deeper is bothering us? Hence, it may be the best time of the year to gift ourselves with finding help. Help in a way where we will be guided as to how to deal with our emotions and finally be able to pinpoint the real reason why the Christmas season holiday stresses us.
If the assistance of mental health professionals is needed, then why not? Christmas is all about giving, so why not give ourselves the best gift ever? The freedom of loosening the chains that hold us down. We need to free ourselves from whatever is making Christmas so stressful. There is nothing wrong with seeking professional help. It may just be the best gift we can give ourselves for Christmas. It may also be the best thing we can do to celebrate a “new year,” – literally.