At different times of the year, our stress levels can rise. The start of the school year. The peak period at work. The summer holidays. And as the end of the year draws in, the pressure seems to pile up.
The festive season is mostly great fun. Christmas trees and carols bring back fond memories. And we all love to take a break. Yet, with a tight to-do list already at the brim, adding the Christmas chores can send it over the edge. Can, but won’t. We’ve got your back.
Still your mind for a moment. Those racing thoughts aren’t getting anything done. So, let’s delve into the real reason you’re feeling the Christmas crunch...
What causes Christmas pressure?
The Christmas season is the most magical time of the year. Supposedly. So why does it come with unwanted stress and pressure that we all feel?
Months before, you may look ahead lovingly. But as December comes around, anticipation can turn to worries as you try to do it all.
Christmas shopping looks so lovely in movies. The window shopping, careful gift selection, and evenings spent wrapping. But in reality, it can be messy. The toy of the season is impossible to track down, you have no idea what to get granny, and you’re running out of time. It happens every year.
Then comes the financial guilt. No matter how hard you try to budget, the cost of Christmas creeps up. And as much you bid to be good, it’s easy to indulge in your favourite seasonal foods and feel lethargic and guilty because of it. Add to that a hearty helping of the flu for the family, it’s easy to see why the festive season fills us with stress.
And if you’re hosting anything this festive season, forget it. Christmas lunch can be the chaos to your calm. But even a boxing day bash or an evening get together can send your mind into overdrive.
The stress of shopping, financial burden, winter sickness and weight worries can push the Christmas pressure to an all-time high. And that’s no help to your health.
How can the pressure of Christmas affect your health?
On the surface, the strain seems superficial. You might experience it every year, so what makes this one so special? The problem is, we’re so used to stress -it feels normal.
The time pressures, financial worries, and social expectations are overwhelming, and it’s easy to turn a blind eye to them during the Christmas period. Yet, living in a constant state of tension, even for a short time, can be difficult to deal with.
Just a small amount of stress can create an anxious state of mind. The seasonal responsibilities can take their toll as changes to your daily routine can send your mind and body out of sync and affect the immune system. And that’s how the Christmas cold sneaks in.
Combined with overindulgence and a lack of exercise, you can feel fatigued for days.
But the good news is that it’s conquerable with self-care.
Life hacks to combat Christmas pressure
When tension threatens to spoil the fun, let a few life hacks save the day. A little bit of planning always pays off. Scheduling your to-dos and delegation helps here.
Don’t deal with everything alone. Give each family member something to do. Wrapping, shopping, peeling the veg. Even the kids can help –arts and crafts create the best Christmas decorations (and help with the costs).
Pull together a timetable, so that everyone knows what to do. By breaking it all down, you’re less overwhelmed. And slow down. Give yourself enough time to make the tasks fun again and feel like less of a chore.
Then take a break. Try five minutes of meditation or a breathing exercise. Squeeze in a yoga class, or a bit of mindfulness at home. Your mind and body will thank you for it.
Social demands can really put the pressure on. But laughing with friends and enjoying family time can drastically drop your stress levels. Indulge in your interests too. Read, write, get out in the fresh air.
And for the ultimate mood booster, harness a healthy balance. Healthy eating is important. Team it with exercise to sweat your worries away. Walk, swim, dance, or try strength training.
Self-care isn’t selfish. It’s the selfless act that saves your sanity and keeps you calm ahead of a busy but blessed festive season.