As Christmas draws near, we get tangled in a web of advertisements, news stories, songs and images that declare how Christmas ought to be. Christmas then arrives and looks nothing like its Tinder picture. Here are five tips for keeping your Christmas stress – proof this year.
- Set achievable goals. If you limit your goals and leave room for realism, you’ll be less disappointed and feel more in control when things go wrong. Leave room for mistakes on your menu. Don’t aim for everyone to get along, just aim to get everyone on the table.
- Keep your narrative going. During the Holidays, you’re suddenly transported into a world you associate with your past. This can trigger negative memories or shake your sense of self-identity. Schedule some time alone with yourself every day and keep up your usual habits. If you go for a run every morning, keep going for a run. If you read through emails every morning, keep starting your day in exactly the same way.
- Exercise. Many of us give our fit selves a holiday over Christmas – but don’t! A thirty-minute workout every morning will lift your mood, boost your stress resilience and help you sleep soundly whatever happens during the rest of the day.
- Lower Emotional Load. We all love the warm fuzziness of seasonal emotional warmth, but too much emotional contagion can backfire. You’ll react more easily to negativity, disappointment and frustration if you’re emotionally aroused. In the days leading up to Christmas, stay goal-directed and limit your dose of emotionally charged television, advertisements and music.
- Bond over comedy. Laughter will diffuse tensions, dismantle egos, dilute anger and make everyone bond. If the atmosphere becomes emotionally charged and claustrophobic, call on comedy. The more slapstick, the better.
Read more about how to stress – proof your life in Mithu Storoni’s book, Stress – Proof.