There’s no denying that for many of us, Christmas has become a source of stress and overwork, instead of a time of love and harmony. If it’s coming at you the same way, check out the tips below for not only surviving the season, but rediscovering what it’s really all about.
- Learn to say NO. You don’t need to be able to do it all. AND
- Learn to delegate! Tell others what you need, and ask them to get things done.
- Plan ahead – don’t leave it all for the last minute. If you think about it, get it done, even if that means shopping in September!
- Don’t aim for perfection; aim for joy!
- All things in moderation. Whether that’s food, drink, presents, parties, events – slow down, and enjoy the moments.
- Make sure to get lots of sleep.
- If you are feeling lonely, find ways to spend time with others:
- help out at a charity;
- invite a foreign student for dinner;
- accept invites to other events;
- strike up one conversation with a stranger each day (it’s particularly easy if you’re in line at a check-out!);
- find an online chat group that shares an interest of yours – books, motorcycles, movies, hobbies – the list is endless, and the group is out there!
- Ask yourself what would really bring you joy – if that’s time with family, is all the other “stuff” really that important?
- Take time for self-care – get some exercise; spend time in nature; keep up with your medication regime; take a hot bath – do whatever lets you unwind and calm your mind and energize your body.
- If money and gift-giving are stressful (they are for most people!), consider some changes this year:
- draw names in your gift circle, so you only have to buy one gift;
- make gifts of your time – offer to cook, or clean, or babysit, or drive someone around, or just spend special time with the kids (yours, or anyone else’s);
- make one donation to charity on everyone’s behalf;
- shop online. Shopping in malls and stores increases the stress;
- if you’re crafty, make some gifts (as long as the time crunch doesn’t cause more stress!).
- Do the holiday things you enjoy, whether it’s watching your favourite movie with your favourite people, looking at lights, baking, sharing your favourite memories with other (or nothing at all!).
- Whether you’re of a religious bent or not, focus on what the season is really about – joy, peace, gratitude, and love. Find ways to find those things in yourself and others.
- Unplug. Get away from the electronics, and just “be”.
- Be safety conscious. Keep an eye on little folks and pets to make sure they don’t eat things they shouldn’t; watch your candles (and consider artificial ones); set timers when you’re cooking so you don’t get distracted.
- If you’re missing those who are not there, talk about them, reminisce, remember – even if it makes you cry. It keeps them with you. Shutting them away and pretending it’s OK will cause more hurt, not less.
If the stress, loneliness, anxiety or pain get to be too much, REACH OUT – to friends, to family, to agencies like ours. You don’t have to do this alone.
Family Service Saskatoon: (306) 244-0127
Mobile Crisis Saskatoon 24-hour support line: (306) 933-6200