It’s finally here! The start of the festive season or what I like to call the ‘silly season’.

As we get closer to Christmas, many of us are beginning to feel overwhelmed due to all the rushing around we do preparing for that one day of the year.

In addition to the usual stress of the season, this year we also have to deal with the changes caused by COVID. Many of us are unsure if we will get to spend time with family and loved ones due to the uncertainty around travel, and finances are also an issue for those who have lost their jobs or had their hours reduced.

The stress from all these factors can be overbearing and ruin the joy of holiday, which is a shame! That’s why, in this blog post, I want to share a few tips on how to make this time of year less stressful so you can enjoy the holidays as much as possible!

Tip 1: Set Realistic Expectations

We often have a vision of what an ideal Christmas looks like which places a lot of stress on us. Instead of trying to make things perfect, focus on what’s most important about the day and what you can realistically do with the time, energy and money that you have.

It’s also helpful to remember there are lots of things outside of our control this year, which may make it more likely some things might be in short supply or unavailable! Have a Plan B to avoid disappointment. You could even start a new ritual or tradition, this would be a great year to do this!

Tip 2: Plan Ahead

Instead of rushing around at the last moment, start buying a bit of what you need each week. I’ve already bought my ham and started my cracker collection for the cheese platter. Next will be the drinks. I also took my girls shopping for their presents on the weekend. We had a girl’s lunch at the same time so that was a bonus.

If you have little ones, go shopping in the evening once they have settled down for the night. The shops are less busy and you can have a bit of downtime wandering around at your own pace. You can even pick something up for yourself!

Tip 3: Be Prepared For A Different Holiday

As international and some national travel restrictions are still in place, Christmas might not look the same this year. Acknowledge any difficult emotions that may arise due to this. It’s okay to feel sad and disappointed.

Once you have been able to sit with these emotions, turn your focus to what you can do. If your relatives can’t celebrate with you this year due to travel restrictions, find new ways to celebrate together, such as meeting virtually on a video call. With the help of technology, you can always find ways to celebrate together, even when you’re apart!

If you are going to be alone, volunteer your time or connect with others who will also be alone and spend time together. Or use this time to take a well-deserved break and make the most of the day by focusing on your self-care.

Tip 4: Don’t Forget About Self-Care

With such a huge focus during the holidays on doing and giving, it can be easy to forget to take care of yourself. Spend time on self-care will improve your mood and your ability to deal with stressors.

Remember to set aside some time to do things you enjoy, even when you have a full schedule. Find time to exercise, plan a dinner out, go out with your mates, get a massage or long walks in nature, or whatever brings you joy!

Tip 5: Drink Wisely

It’s the season to be merry, but increased alcohol can drain our energy and make us even more susceptible to feeling stressed.

Drink wisely by following these tips:

  • Slow your drinking down and enjoy the experience more by savouring what you are drinking. Let it sit in your mouth a few seconds longer than normal and focus your attention on the different tastes and sensations.
  • Try a non-alcohol drink, there are many great recipes and you can even buy non-alcoholic spirits and aperitifs that give your drink an interesting flavour profile.
  • Create a spritzer by adding sparkling water to your wine. This is a great way to enjoy your wine on a hot day.

I hope these tips will help you find more joy in this holiday season!

The team at The Wellbeing Psychologist would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!