Stress-free Christmas
Christmas should be, we are told, a time of joy and fun – but for many it never quite works out that way.  Use these top tips taken from the UK’s leading personal development expert Phil Parker’s Stress Free Christmas Programme to make sure you do have a Happy Christmas.
Festive stress
For most people Christmas stresses fall into one of two groups:
1) Other people
2) Overwhelm
1) Other people
The stress around this can be enormous at Christmas time.  One of the easiest things to deal with differently is those people who you find can easily upset or annoy you.
If someone is difficult to deal with (it’s not always the mother-in-law) try these tips:
a) Stay calm: take a deep breath in and remind yourself of something deeply relaxing; a beach, a holiday, a walk in the forest etc.  The chances are they don’t really mean to upset you; so let it go.  If they do mean to be mean, then they’re probably not having a great Christmas, so you can just feel sorry for them, and ask yourself ‘is their opinion that important?’
b) Funny fish head: imagine every time they say something that usually upsets you that they have a large fish sitting on their head, and it’s just flapping around as they talk. Notice how that changes how seriously you take what they say.
2) Overwhelm
This can take many forms, including worrying about catering, shopping, present buying, Christmas cards, entertaining and so on.
Often these take over so much that’s there no fun to be had, no time to relax or to enjoy your friends and family.  This can, of course, then lead to resentful arguments about how nobody helped.
There are some simple solutions:
a) Ask: if you want help, ask for it.  Now, it won’t always be given but so often people don’t even ask – expecting it will ‘be obvious’ to everyone that they should lend a hand.  Make it easier this year by requesting some help if you’d like it.
b) Bite-size pieces: If you find it all becoming too much and yourself saying phrases like ‘there TOO/SO much to do’, then pause for a moment and do what the expert planners do, ask yourself ‘what’s the first tiny step?’
Planning the whole 5 course banquet, presents, and housekeeping for 12 people is likely to make your head spin, but discovering the first tiny step is ‘Creating a shopping list’ makes you feel like you are working on the bigger project and that it is actually possible.
Above all realise that worrying about things rarely helps to make things better, so make sure you make the right things important this year, focus up on having fun, kicking off your shoes and dancing with life this Christmas!
Have a happy Christmas and a wonderful 2023!