Sorry if it’s far too soon for you to hear this word but lets face it, it’s not that far away. The supermarkets already have their selection boxes and mince pies out on the shelves.
‘Tis the season to be jolly but if you would rather hide under the duvet until it’s all over (which let’s face it isn’t very practical), I have some strategies to help you get through it as painlessly as possible.
If you feel a little like Scrooge, bah humbug, just remember you are not alone. Christmas can be a stressful time for many. People have financial strains, worry about how to navigate family rifts, and stress about how to cope around food and alcohol particularly if they are trying to lose weight or give up drinking.
So here are my top 10 tips to get through Christmas with as little stress as possible and who knows, maybe even enjoy it:
1. Set financial limits. If finances are stretched then why not suggest to family and friends that you set a limit to the number of presents or the upper limit of money to be spent on each person. I bet you that many of your friends and family will breathe a sigh of relief at the suggestion. Doing this means no one gets embarrassed or feels guilty.
2. Make a wish list. Studies show two out of three gifts are unwanted and many end up on eBay by Christmas night so get everyone to make a wish list of things they’d like and if an item is over the limit you’ve set, then club together with others. That way people get what they really want and you can rest assured that your gifts won’t be one of those stuck on eBay.
3. Call a family truce. If there are some family politics going on and that is stressing you out, then try calling a truce for the Christmas period. You don’t have to kiss and make up at this time but just calling a cease fire on family feuds may help everyone to get through Christmas without too much pain and who knows, it may even spark a resolution.
4. Be supermarket savvy. To stop over indulging and over spending in the supermarket, make a list of the things you need to stop unwanted items creeping into your shopping trolley. Oh, and never shop on an empty stomach because that is just a recipe for disaster.
5. Learn to say no! The party invites will flow in and before you know it your diary is jam packed and you have no space to breathe. Don’t just say yes to be polite. If you are feeling anxious about the fact that your diary is looking way too busy, then just say ‘I’m sorry, I’d love to come but unfortunately I won’t be able to make it’. That’s it! You don’t need to make excuses or justify saying no. Just say yes to the things you really want to go to. It may sound self indulgent but I would say it’s more self preservation.
6. Share the load. If you are having a party, why not suggest everyone brings a dish instead of trying to be the hero or heroine. People usually don’t mind pitching in.
7. Boost your immune system. There is nothing worse than getting sick over Christmas so make sure you help your immune system by eating loads of vegetables and fruit and taking a high quality multivitamin. Of course this advice stands all year round not just at Christmas but at this time of year there are more nasty bugs around so your immune system may need a little more help.
8. Eat mindfully. To make sure we don’t pile on the extra pounds over Christmas, try using the same principles I give people at anytime of the year. Stop eating when you are 80% full, just because it’s there doesn’t mean you have to eat it. Eat slowly and chew your food. Load half your plate with vegetables and if you are going to a party where you know there won’t be many healthy options, have something healthy to eat before you leave and that way you won’t over indulge on the unhealthy stuff.
9. Alternate alcoholic drinks with non alcoholic options. If you are worried about having too much alcohol on nights out then one way to stop the hangover and help your liver is to alternate an alcoholic drink with a soft drink, water or sparkling water. You can also opt for spritzers instead of straight up wine or have shandies instead of beer.
10. Enjoy time with loved ones. Finally, remember what Christmas is really about rather than getting caught up in the commercial hype. It’s about spending time with loved ones, relaxing, reflecting, spiritual practice if you have one and watching old movies snuggled up under a cosy blanket with the people you want to spend time with.
However you spend your Christmas, may it be stress free and peaceful!
Prabha Shiyani is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, specialising in genomics, and an EFT Practitioner. She finds genomics a fascinating subject and uses genetic testing to tailor people’s lifestyles and diets to their genes. Prabha’s passion is to help busy women find balance so that they can be the absolute best version of themselves. To read more about Prabha click here
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