• Emma Nuttall

4 ways to beat stress this Christmas

Updated: Nov 28, 2021

How to stay sane this silly season

December arrives and the to-do-list multiples. If you’re anything like me, the to-do-list was epic to begin with. End of year deadlines, Christmas functions, teacher’s presents, stocking fillers... the list is endless! Sure, it’s the most magical time of the year but it can also be the most stressful.

My original intention for this post was to provide a list of suggestions for staying on track with your health goals in the lead up to Christmas. Stay hydrated and go easy on the espresso martinis, keep up the exercise, get plenty of sleep, etc. But the truth is that in order to stay sane in the silly season, you might just have to ease up in some of those areas. Enjoy yourself, it's been a hell of a year!

The single most important thing you can do in the lead up to Christmas is pay attention to what really matters. If you strip things back, take it a little slower and experience the important moments, you might just slide into the new year a little less stressed and a whole lot jollier!

It’s ok to say no

Life is full of obligations and this amplifies at Christmas. Work parties, client functions, catching up with old friends, catching up with new friends and end of season everything! Keep in mind that there doesn’t always have to be a fallout from saying no. How many times have you been to a party because you felt obliged but the person you showed up for was so busy, they barely noticed you were there?

Set your priorities, be realistic about how much time you have available and say no to the events and people that drain your energy.

Practice being present

When you feel yourself rushing around, pause, take three deep breaths and take it all in. Christmas can really be a magical time of year so allow yourself to experience some of that magic. Feel the feels, lick the spoon, stop frantically wrapping presents for a moment and simply enjoy the twinkling lights on the Christmas tree. Kids grow fast and years whirl past in a blur.

When you are present in a moment, you are much more likely to remember it.

Let the little things go

For many people, Christmas is a time of family politics. It’s the season where those of us with perfectionist tendencies can really step up our game. It can also be a time of great expectation and subsequent disappointment.

There were many years for me when the lead up to Christmas was exhausting. Young children, work and study meant hustling and hurrying to buy gifts, attend events, shuttle kids and make perfect gingerbread cookies. Then one year, I decided enough was enough and it was time to strip it all back 'Bad Moms' style (minus the hot wax and male stripper). What would the outcome be I wondered? Would anyone even notice?

Well, the kids initially complained about the small, sustainable Christmas tree, but they seemed to forget as soon as we started the ritual of decorating. Turns out, it’s not the size of your Christmas tree that matters! My sister turned up on Christmas day with an epic homemade gingerbread house and the social functions I shaved off my calendar were easily rescheduled to January. When a specific item my son requested was sold out at my local shops, instead of racing around to 4 different shopping centres to find it, I just bought the next best thing. And lo and behold, he loved it!

Go into Christmas prepared to let the little things go and even some of the big things. The kids will remember with delight, the year you burnt the turkey and the dog ate the decorations off the Christmas tree if you can laugh about it. Let’s face it, they are less likely to recall how the Christmas linen perfectly matched the wrapping paper.

When it comes to family drama, be prepared to compromise. Just don’t compromise on your values. If you have healthy boundaries in place and are driven by your values, it's easier to know when to stand firm and when to walk away.

Make memories

Pay attention to what really matters this Christmas by focusing on the moments that make the sweetest memories. In addition to causing less stress and overwhelm, this might just be the Christmas that exceeds your expectations.


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