A Wellness Guide: How To Survive Christmas

As the big day rolls ever closer stress levels for a lot of people can be at their highest. From worrying about family interactions, burning the candle at both ends or simply trying too hard for that perfect Christmas Day. 

However, that doesn't need to be the case, with a little less expectation and awareness of stress or anxiety levels you can have a festive break that you will enjoy. Below I've detailed a few of the ways I like to have a stress-free Christmas after battling anxiety for years. I hope these simple tips help you have a merry little Christmas.

1. Lower expectations 
While Christmas is supposed to be a happy time of year it doesn't have to be the ultimate happiest. So if you know you expect too much from the day and often feel let down when it doesn't turn out as you'd plans then it may be wise to lower your expectations. Accepting that you may forget to cook something or that Aunty Sue will probably be drunk before 1pm and will most likely fall off her chair breaking one of the kid's toys, could help you see the funny side of things rather than go into meltdown mode. Also accepting that Christmas as an adult is very different to how you felt as a child and that festive feeling may be less but you can still have a nice time in a different way.

2. Focus on the important things and forget the rest
Whether you find yourself writing Christmas cards to the neighbours on Christmas Eve or overthinking seating arrangement to lower the risk of arguments or tantrums it may be time to refocus your energy on more important things that matter to you. This could be simply phoning a friend or family member for a chat and to wish them a merry Christmas or even spending the time cuddling up on the sofa with a tub of chocolates and a Christmas movie.

3. Make sure to have downtime 
Talking of Christmas movie evenings, downtime over this busy period is essential! I often find I'm at my busiest in December but since realising this I've accommodated my time for periods where I can do nothing. This means by 6pm on a Friday night I will be in my pyjamas with a face mask on waiting for a takeaway to arrive which definitely balances out a busy week a little better. If you do find you're out more often than you would like and it makes you feel run down and sleep deprived see point two and point four and possibly drop something in favour of your own wellbeing!

4. Say 'no' more 
Christmas is definitely a time of agreeing to everything asked of you and feeling like it's an obligation. But the truth is, it isn't! Yes, of course, people would prefer you to say yes to everything they ask of you but there's only so much you can take on and to be honest saying 'no (in the nicest possible way) feels really good sometimes. Not only does it get you out of things you don't want to do but it exercises boundaries and shows you aren't someone that can be called upon all the time. It may be hard or awkward to start with but as soon as you see that person can do it themselves or find other people and aren't annoyed as you'd imagined it does get easier and really can help decrease your own stress levels.

5. Preparation is key 
While Christmas day is only a weekend away there's still time to prepare for it. Whether that making food for guests in advance or simply figuring out what you will be wearing on the day and having it ironed and ready. Preparation along with knowing that you are doing in advance can be a big stress reliever and can help the big day go more smoothly. 

6. Do more of what makes you happy 
If you are spending time away from your own home at Christmas it can be easy to go with the grain and do what everyone else is doing, which is fine as long as you can fit in a few things you like doing as well! This may be going for a walk or playing silly party games just as long as you remember to fit these things in you will be sure to have a happier time.

7. Get outside 
Talking about getting outside for a walk, Christmas time can easily be spent purely indoors and without realising cabin fever can ensue. So while not all of us may want to go for a Christmas walk on the actual day it's always good to get out around that time, whether it's for a fresh morning walk or wrapped up in the evening to look at Christmas lights. It really is surprising how energising and uplifting walking can be after overindulging and too much TV watching.

 8. Be childish!
While the child within maybe less as you get older, Christmas is the perfect time to reconnect with your childlike self and have some unadulterated fun! This could be organising after dinner Christmas games or buying a board game from your childhood, or even simply playing with the younger members of your family. The term 'letting your hair down' doesn't always have to mean with the aid of alcohol! 

I hope you all have a merry and safe Christmas this year! 

Fee xo.
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