7 great tips to relax and have a stress free Christmas
You are not alone if you find Christmas stressful!
There’s a lot going on. An ever growing list of not-quite-there-yet gifts, grocery shopping, people coming and going, forgetting to pick up the sherry for Aunt Maud (again) - and oh yes, a little bit of festive global pandemic.. just to add to the mix. Our mental health can take a few knocks at Christmas at the best of times.
This could be a recipe for one too many gins, a migraine and a long lie down in a dark room. And it’s not even Christmas eve yet. Phew. We need to focus a little more on wellbeing to alleviate Christmas related anxiety and stress.
How to avoid stress at Christmas.
The expert advice is to think about and find as many small ways as you can to relax now. Actually think about it, prepare little strategies in your mind that become part of your festive experience. Visualise how you want it to be. If you are feeling overwhelmed already, chances are you will get overwhelmed.
Not many of us are able to spend the holidays lolling around, stress free. There will be moments you’ll want to scream (in a jolly, festive way of course) and that's normal. But there are also moments you can focus on relaxing. As long as you are ready to recognize them, and use them!
Think about and plan these little tips into your holidays.
Get outside and exercise regularly.
You don’t have to be at the gym throwing weights around. Just get outside into nature and walk to reduce stress. Run if you're a runner, but nothing beats a good walk in the woods, the beach if you're lucky, or just round the park. Walking in nature reduces your stress levels, calms your mind and will give you that well being hit you need.
When you exercise, your body releases chemicals such as dopamine and endorphins in your brain that make you feel happy. Not only is your brain dumping out feel-good chemicals, but exercise also helps your brain get rid of chemicals that make you feel stressed and anxious. Win win.
A walk with your dog, your family or yourself should be one of the treats you give yourself every day. (Top tip - do NOT beat yourself up if you miss a day. Just go out the next day. Be kind to yourself).
Create a calm atmosphere.
Treat yourself, your home and your guests to a beautiful, fragrant atmosphere. Our senses are brilliant receptors, and a gorgeous fragrance in a room room evokes positive emotions, elevates mood and makes us feel good.
Create festive, seasonal and natural scented rooms with natural soy wax candles and organic room mists. If your home is a delight to be in, your sense of well being will increase, and your stress levels will decrease. Try the gorgeous Made By Coopers range.
Choose scents to suit mood, especially with natural, essential oil based fragrances. Calming scents and essential oils like:
Lavender - probably the best-known calming essential oil. It’s popular as a spirit lifting, nerve-relaxing, calming fragrance in bath oils, sleep pillows, soaps, candles and room sprays. A relaxing herb, lavender is used medicinally for its soothing effect on the nervous system.
Chamomile is another plant well known for its calming properties.
And for truly festive scents, use Frankincense, Bergamot, Ylang ylang, Jasmine and pine and citrus oils, all found in Hoof & Paws beautiful scented crystal candles. Gorgeous and calming.
Take a news break.
The thing about bad news (and we’ve had plenty the past few years), is that it gets addictive. We become weirdly reliant on tuning in every morning to hear what terrible news there might be today, or not.
Take a conscious break from anxiety and bad news chasing. It causes stress.
Turn off the TV. Stop scrolling through Twitter or facebook for minute by minute updates. Trust us, it’s all going to still be there after Christmas. Sure, catch up on current affairs but take time out and focus on the positive things in your life. Your family, your pets, nature, how great your stuffing turned out. Enjoy twinkling Christmas lights, the tree in your neighbours window, the sound of carols, the chance to stop and breathe when the holiday break comes. Don’t overload it with news.
Remember, bad news is big business for the papers and social media platforms. They have a vested and very profitable interest in keeping you glued to the doom and gloom. Avoid!
Top tip: if TV and media is a big thing in your house, line up feel good festive films, watch some classics, find funny and light shows to binge, watch stuff that is life affirming, positive and makes you feel good. Check out this list of 65 Christmas classics! https://editorial.rottentomatoes.com/guide/best-christmas-movies/
Make music and laughter the soundtrack to your Christmas.
Another tip to get away from the screen. Research shows that passively watching screens, TV and social media, dulls our emotions and delivers little reward. So, no dopamine there! However, listening to music elevates our feel good factor, and creates emotional responses. Hello dopamine! We’re happier doing tasks when we’re listening to music. So choose a soundtrack for cooking, wrapping and tidying. Even better, plug into some great music on that daily walk!
Streaming services like Spotify or iTunes help you create and find perfect playlists of all your favourite music, and remind you of tunes you’d totally forgotten about!
Instead of watching telly tonight, start putting together some great playlists for Christmas! Party tunes, carols, kids favourites, classical, cheesy Christmas music, chill out tunes .. and have it all at your fingertips for exactly the right atmosphere, mood or gathering over Christmas.
Schedule in ‘me’ time with luxurious baths and skin treatments.
A hot bath with gorgeous salts or essential oils, or a face mask or good skin detox shouldnt be the chore inbetween cooking, stopping the kids fighting and walking the dog!
Take time out. It doesn't have to be hours on end, but a good half hour or hour spent taking a little care of yourself, your skin and your body pays big rewards. Use quality organic bath stuff, like the No Ordinary range.
Adding to your overall sense of wellbeing, a little self care reduces stress and anxiety making you better equipped to deal with any situation Christmas throws at you!
Stock up now on a few nice treatments and wellbeing products to get you through! Here’s some we got gorgeous rich body butters from the Kathy Sue Ann range ..
And pure, cleansing facial treats from Vaneda
Put the ‘relax factor’ into everyday rituals.
As well as using super nice organic skin cleanser each morning, or a rather special natural essential oil body wash in your daily shower, be mindful of what you are putting into your body too!
Cups of tea and coffee are regular and frequent daily rituals. And these you can tweak a little to reduce your stress and add to overall well being.
Instead of your usual coffee in the middle of a busy day, make a refreshing organic loose leaf tea. There are so many gorgeous unusual teas guaranteed to set your taste bud tingling, calm any jitters and help create a calm and relaxed inner you. Try Organics Eco Shop's range of Thai loose leaf teas.
Caffeine will increase your heart rate - which may be good in the morning, but for the rest of the day is likely to increase anxiety and stress. We recommend good quality, organic herbal and loose leaf teas. They are so good, we reckon this is one habit you’ll keep after Christmas! Try it out with Moos Bros Citrus organic loose leaf tea.
.. and finally, and possibly the most important tip..
Do you have a vision of the perfect Christmas in your head? One where it’s gently snowing outside, the children quietly sit around an open fire sharing stories? The dog snoozes contentedly at your feet, as the turkey goes golden brown and the distant sound of carols echo on the crisp night air?
Please!! If this is your reality, we’re all coming to yours!!
It’s a fantasy. Likely your Christmas is pretty much like most other peoples! As in .. it’s raining outside, the kids are at war, the dog chewed half the presents, most of the house over 18 has a hangover, and you just realised the turkey is still in the freezer.
Heard of the serenity prayer? It should be your new mantra!
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference.
Don’t strive for perfection. It’s the biggest guarantee of stress. Instead strive for acceptance.
Embrace and love your messy, weird family. If the front room is untidy, leave it! That's what Boxing day is for. Mindfully seek laughter rather than frustration. Everyone will eat - so what if it doesn't look like and M&S advert! If granny’s tipsy by 11am, get her up dancing!
Do NOT try to have the ‘perfect’ Christmas that advertisers sell you. Have your perfect Christmas. The one where things go wrong, the tree falls over,the teenager is having a massive sulk, things get untidy and the dog has ripped his Santa hat to shreds. The one where real memories are made and love is exchanged and people are healthy and safe.
So don't stress. Notice every kind, funny, sweet, awkward, ridiculous moment and embrace it all. And if we’re fortunate to have this kind of Christmas, we’re very very lucky.
You got this.