Christmas time is a time when most people are stressed because it is a deadline whereby we are supposed to have it all organised: food shopping, guest arrangements, cooking, cleaning and gifts, all sorted. At the same time, supplies and services shut down, and the pressure builds to “get it all done before Christmas”. Add that holiday stress to the pre-existing family dynamics which are often brought to an intensity level at Christmas time, and explosions can often be heard around the dining table.
As a result of all this tension, we can become vulnerable to slipping back into some of our old habits. We need to be more careful – smoking, drinking, excessive eating, and other behaviours which are problematic and can trigger bigger problems, low self-worth, depression, anxiety and the like.
So you can see why Christmas time is classed as one of the six most stressful life events. Relationships Australia notes that:
- Christmas is considered as one of the six most stressful life events, along with divorce, moving house and changing jobs.
- In one survey of over 3,000 people, 86% reported that they find buying presents to be difficult and 65% reported Christmas shopping a stressful experience.
- A North American survey reported that 45% of respondents dreaded the festive season.
How to Manage Holiday Stress
Fist up, don’t be a perfectionist. Perfectionism is another way of overcompensating for an underlying belief that you are not good enough. That’s a problem worth addressing on any day of the year, but at Christmas you are really upping the anti on that challenge when most people would fall short of their best performance due to the craziness all around them. They don’t call it the silly season for nothing. So put perfectionism aside and aim for good enough.
Make personal time for yourself during this period to avert holiday stress. Take a long bath, head to the beach, dance around the loungeroom like no-one is watching except for the cat, get a massage. Just do something that punctuates the end of the year in a self-loving way.
Stick to your health routine. If you have quit drinking, smoking, sugar etc, great. Don’t use this holiday stress as an excuse to take it up again. If you have come to see me for this issue, you will already have alternative strategies – use them.
Manage your time better, knowing that the roads are likely to be choked and everyone is contributing to the general malaise of busyness. If you need to be somewhere, factor in extra time.
Say ‘No” more often. When we are overwhelmed it is because we cannot take any more, so we need to delegate or offload tasks and responsibilities. By saying ‘no’, we leave a little breathing space in which to function. If you are a people pleaser you might have trouble with this one. This suggests that you might benefit from some hypnotherapy sessions in self-esteem.
So remember, holiday season is stressful for most of us. You are not alone. Just follow the above steps and you glide through it. If you need assistance with bad habits, negative thoughts and beliefs, we can help. Horizons Clinical Hypnotherapy Sunshine Coast.