December 6, 2012
Worried about Christmas? We all know it can be one of the most stressful times of the year.
Bill Jackson, from South Burnett Counselling, has put together 12 tips to help you “survive” Christmas!
1. Don’t overeat throughout the holiday season. Yet often that’s what we tend to do at Christmas. Lots of food, often high in sugars and fat. We then end up feeling bloated which does not help our overall disposition and may in fact have the opposite effect, ridding us of any positive Christmas attitude. Try to eat in a well-balanced way. There’s no law that says we have to have two helpings of everything. At least try!
2. Don’t drink alcohol excessively. Doing this can make us feel extremely sombre and may well affect our overall mood in a negative way. This in turn will have a negative affect on the way we interact with those around us and what should be a happy and joyous time could easily end up in drama. If you do drink, balance it by also drinking plenty of water to keep your body hydrated.
3. Make an effort to ensure you are able to get some “alone” time to yourself to help you unwind. Try to manage the amount of noise input! After all, we can all only take so much bedlam. Try and remove yourself from some activity even if only for a short time. This may mean locking yourself in your bedroom for a time: a self-imposed “time out.” But if that’s what it takes, don’t be afraid to do it.
4. If you can, try and avoid those “high pressure” situations (like 9.00am at the shopping mall on Boxing Day). Stay away from crowds if at all possible. The pressure that we place on ourselves in such situations just adds to the stress we’re already experiencing. Sure, the bargains may be tempting. However, just remember the overall cost to yourself and to your wellbeing may not be positive.
5. Get plenty of sleep. There is lots and lots to do at this time of year but operating on less sleep than usual will make even the best of us cranky and will add to the stress that’s already present. Manage your time. Make sure you have an early night or if you can, a nap in the afternoon may work wonders and re-charge you in plenty of time for the next onslaught.
6. Take extra care when driving. At this time of year, the roads are busier, people on the roads tend to be in a hurry, and drivers may well be tired, in a rush, distracted, drunk, or hung-over. Therefore, take extra care behind the wheel. Share the driving load. Leave in plenty of time to get to your destination, don’t speed. Rather, enjoy the journey. Always better to get there a few minutes late than not at all.
7. Do not drive if you’re over-tired or you have been drinking. It’s just not worth it. Tiredness and the results of drinking slow down our reflexes.In addition, there are often more distractions which may include noisy children in the car. In such cases, being on the road is definitely not the place to be. Take a taxi or stay the night and return home the next day. Be safe not sorry.
8. Don’t over-spend. Try not to overwork that credit card.Christmas is traditionally a time for giving and it is just so tempting to be that much more generous at Christmas. However, such feelings of generosity can well lead to feelings of regret and subsequently anxiety and even anger come January. This in turn will place an extra amount of stress on us in the New Year.
9. Try your best to avoid being in stressful situations longer than necessary. If you are somewhere and you really want to leave, then bite the bullet and leave. You don’t need to feel obliged to “kick on” or be tempted to overstay your welcome. Take responsibility and leave work functions or family gatherings or similar activities while things are still going well.
10. Get some exercise. Late Christmas afternoon is always a good time (preferably when it’s cooled down a bit). Getting some fresh air into our lungs will not only refresh us it will also help us clear our head. It’s also nice just to be outside as Christmas preparations can well lead us to feel claustrophobic. Go outside, play cricket, kick a footy, throw a Frisbee, play with the dog. Breathe in the day.
11. Take extra care around the home. In our rushing around to get everything “just right” it is all too easy to become careless and not pay that extra bit of attention to matters of safety. As such we may easily overlook specific safety concerns; shutting gates, locking doors, locking the car, etc. Such carelessness can all too easily result in tragic circumstances.
12. Make the time and the effort to do something that is intentionally “fun”. We expend a lot of effort at Christmas, what with shopping, cooking, socialising and the like, and everything we do can end up seeming like a chore. Work hard at putting the “joy” back into the Christmas season, for yourself and for your family. Have some fun, have a laugh and enjoy each others’ company.
Bill Jackson Ph.D., Dip. Prof. Couns., M.A.C.A., M.F.P.C.Q.
South Burnett Counselling