Reducing Christmas stress: Prepare now, enjoy later
Did you know today is National Stress Awareness Day? It really couldn’t be more aptly timed right now with everything going on around us. While all kinds of different factors can cause stress, trying to prepare for the festive season is often a source of anxiety – especially when everything feels so uncertain this year. Which is why we thought we’d share a couple of ideas and things to remember to help you keep stress levels as low as possible in the run up to a very different kind of Christmas.
1. Get a head start on preparations
Yes, OK. It might sound like the most obvious answer ever, but starting early will genuinely help you feel on top of things now and avoid feeling flustered later on. That applies to everything from decorating the tree to cooking Christmas dinner. Start by making a list of who you want to get gifts for this year and gradually get them ticked off over the coming weeks. With restrictions in place, online shopping is your friend right now. Where you can, try to buy from small and local businesses to help them continue to trade in these challenging times.
2. Be mindful of finances
The cost of Christmas can be a real concern for many, particularly with incomes being squeezed even further this year. Check in with your loved ones to see if they feel comfortable exchanging gifts. If they do, try to agree an amount to each spend – Secret Santa is a good way to do this, too. Sticking to a budget will help you keep track and having honest conversations will help others around you feel less guilty or overwhelmed about feeling like they need to spend more than they can afford. When you look back at the best gifts you’ve ever received the chances are they were the most thoughtful, not the most expensive.
3. Find alternative ways to be together
While none of us quite know how Christmas will look this year yet, it’s a good idea to start thinking of alternative ways to celebrate if your plans do get a little disrupted. Whether that’s virtual charades with your friends or a socially distanced Boxing Day walk, having some back-up ideas ready will help you keep the celebrations going and keep you connected.
4. See who else you can help
If you’re feeling in a good place with your preparations, think about who else could use a hand. That could be someone in your family, a friend, a neighbour or even volunteering if you have the time and resources. Christmas can be a difficult time for lots of people, so helping alleviate stress and being there for someone in need is a great way to remember the true meaning of the season.
5. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself
The celebrations (and you) don’t have to be perfect. Quality time is the most important thing always. The more you stress about every detail being just right, the less in the moment you’ll be. Never forget your presence is a true present to people you love. And if you need to take time out, that’s perfectly fine, too. Listen to your body and make sure you keep self-care high on the agenda.
Let us know your tips to reduce festive stress over at @aureliaskincare #aureliaskincare