How to be less stressed at Christmas
Many of us have an image in our head of the perfect, cosy Christmas – decorating our homes, putting up the tree, and making sure Santa brings all the toys on our children’s wish lists.
But in reality, this can be a challenge. Getting a real Christmas tree sounds wonderful until you become a sweaty mess trying to get it in from the car, then your children just start arguing over the decorations! Juggling school plays, Christmas fairs, and trips to see Santa can be tricky when you’re trying to cater for different ages too.
Plus the costs very quickly add up, especially if you’re paying for more than one child. You want to make sure they all get their fair share of presents, despite the fact that the older they get, the smaller and more expensive the gifts seem to be! Not to mention a family trip to the panto that will set you back anywhere from £30 to £100.
So as the holiday season whizzes by, you find yourself stressed and exhausted, looking forward to Boxing Day when it’ll all be over for another year.
Why it’s not selfish to be stress-free
We often neglect one really important person in the lead up to Christmas however – ourselves! Sure, the true meaning of Christmas is to think of others, but hear me out.
I like to use the pre-flight safety demonstration to describe this approach: “Secure your own oxygen mask first, before helping others.” It’s practical advice – in order to help others, you need to be in the best possible shape yourself.
With this in mind, Parent-Centred Parenting encourages parents to take care of their own health and well-being, in order to be good role models for their children.
This is based on the idea that your child learns best by copying. So, by being a happy and confident parent, your child can learn to be a happy and confident individual too.
Keeping this in mind during the festive season can help manage your child’s expectations, as well as your own.
Writing your Christmas stress list
The beauty of this parenting model is that it fits every family and can be adapted to your own personal circumstances. There is no list of rules, no rigid information on what to do or what not to do.
So I suggest thinking about what it is that stresses you out about Christmas. Do you sign yourself or your children up to too many activities? Always offer to host Christmas dinner? Or try to buy everything on your child’s Christmas list?
Write down the things that cause you to stress and think about the following questions for each one:
- Is it necessary/important? If not, you can take it off your list.
- Does it have to be done by me? If not, you could pass it on to family, friends, your children or partner.
- Does it have to be done urgently? If not, you could pencil it into your calendar for another, less stressful time.
You should be left with a shorter to-do list than you started with! If not, think carefully about what you consider to be necessary or important – remembering that time out for yourself is valuable too.
Asking for help is a key survival tip, but be prepared for jobs to be done differently in the way you would have done them.
Nobody’s perfect – and Christmas doesn’t have to be either. By taking care of yourself in this busy period you can make the most of these special years with your children because they will have grown up before you know it.
For more advice and tips for Christmas, take a look at The Christmas Good Toy Guide magazine.Tags: Christmas, christmas 2018, mental health, stress
This post was written by Anna Taylor