Christmas can be pretty stressful. It’s one of the most expensive times of the year and December is one of the busiest months too. Today, I’m sharing 6 practical self-care tips for Christmas which could help you lighten the load.
6 Self-care Ideas for a
Calmer Christmas with Less Stress
What is self-care?
Self-care encompasses deliberate actions aimed at enhancing your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. There are several key dimensions of self-care:
- P – physical
- E – environmental
- E – emotional
- P – psychological
- S – spiritual
- S – social
- P – professional
- F – financial
Self-care practices offer a way to protect your natural ability to be ready, resilient and resourceful.
I like to think of them as a protective factor to prevent your personal energy stores burning up. My acronym to help remember them – P E E P S S P F – is pretty spot on don’t you think?
Why is self-care important at Christmas?
Stress around Christmas is unsurprising. With festive meals and presents to buy it can be a particularly expensive period. If you’re not careful it’s easy to get swept up in the frenzy and celebrations and go overboard.
If Christmas does make you feel stressed, one thing to remember is that you’re not alone.
In a recent government survey, while around 5 out of 10 women said they expected the festive season to be ‘fairly relaxing’ or ‘very relaxing’, 4 out of 10 said they expected Christmas to be ‘fairly stressful’ or ‘very stressful’.
Is there a way to strike a healthy balance where you can embrace the celebrations but also minimise the tension and strain that can creep into your festive prep?
Practising self-care at Christmas could tip the scales in your favour when you want less Festive Frenzy and more Christmas Calm.
6 Ideas for Self-care at Christmas
Establish strong boundaries
It’s the season for attending work parties, seeing nativity plays, visiting mates for mince pies, and a whole host of social engagements. But is there time to fit everything in on top of work and regular life? Probably not.
If you want to avoid Christmas burnout, it helps to flex your personal boundaries, and instead of accepting every invitation on offer, to say “Thanks, but no thanks” to a few.
Having time to relax is an important part of self-care. Try picking a bedtime for the week to help you prioritise rest and recovery. And then stick to it!
Embrace your budget
This is tricky, especially when social, media and adverts make it hard to avoid the comparison trap. But we all know that shopping, holiday activities and socialising all have a cost, which is why Christmas is often a time of financial stress.
Having a Christmas that you can actually afford is not just a sign of maturity, it’s a way to practice financial self-care. If you’re not in the habit of tracking your spending, take a deep breath, check your bank account and set a budget ASAP.
If you can avoid overspending now, come January 2024, I’m certain you’ll feel more excited and eager to embrace the New Year.
Prep for your time off work
In theory, having a break from work should be relaxing, but the lead up to your time off could have you scrabbling to get your work done. As Christmas holidays loom, it pays to keep a beady eye on your schedule and be fiercely protective of your time during the work day.
One often overlooked way to maximise your time at work is by bringing in your lunch. Tucking into last night’s leftovers (with a serving of extra veg on the side) is an easy way to enjoy a tasty lunch – with zero time wasted in queues.
Share the responsibilities
It probably seemed like a great idea at the time – “l’ll throw a party”, you said. If it’s turned into yet one more thing to do then check out this self-care tip to lighten the load.
Buy in the drinks. Decorate your table with seasonal fresh fruit and nuts. But simply ask everyone invited to bring a dish of their choice.
By sharing out this one responsibility you’ll gift yourself a big wedge of time. Asking for help earlier on beats waiting till you’re ready to crack.
Categorise your get-to-do list
I’m a fan of a ‘get-to-do list’, rather than a bog-standard to do list of chores. After all, if you’re buying presents, planning an evening with friends or doing your weekly shop, it’s much more satisfying to do this with a positive mindset.
One way to practise self-care is to use pre-planning techniques to help take the tension out of Christmas shopping. This can be as simple as separating the items on your get-to-do list into distinct categories. Crowds, traffic, even the weather are out of your control, but with a clearly categorised list, you can stay on track, avoid impulse buys, and have the satisfaction of ticking things off as they’re completed.
An added bonus, is that with a calmer state of mind you’re more likely to remember to swig some water or take time out for a cup of tea if that’s what you need.
Prepare to meet the family
If there was ever a situation likely to cause sleepless nights or drain your energy, it’s having to spend time with people you don’t really like. Visiting relatives can be a major source of relationship and emotional stress, especially if you have history, conversations are fraught, or you just don’t see eye to eye. Sometimes, the frustration can stem from feeling that your options are limited. Is this true?
One of my favourite phrases is that while you can’t change the people around you, you can change the people around you.
Think of it this way. If you’re stuck in a battle of wills (again!) what can you change?
- You could recruit an ally who has your back to join in the conversation.
- You could leave the room for a second.
- You could go out for a long walk.
- You can call a cab and go home.
Christmas can be a stressful period – celebrating can quickly become expensive and with the added social invitations, December is a busy month. But it’s possible to break clear of the frenzy and enjoy more calm and good cheer. One may to do this is by practising self-care.
Self-care can arm you with strategies to address physical, financial, work, environmental, and relationship stressors. Self-care at Christmas can be as simple as giving yourself permission to decline invitations when you want to relax; proudly sticking to the budget you’ve set; or deciding on an exit plan for sticky family situations.
It’s time to strike a balance between celebration and personal well-being. Try these six self-care tips to navigate the holiday season with greater ease.
If creating healthier new habits is something that’s been on your mind for a while, here’s one way to turn your thoughts into action and create a successful change – REVIVE!
The REVIVE Programme by Nutrition with Nina supports you as you introduce new habits to eat better, sleep better and feel better.
Images by Kawe Rodrigues and Volodymyr Hryschchenko at Unsplash