By now, the main Christmas festivities are over, and if you are anything like the Unsorry gals, you are staring into an almost empty tin of Quality Street wondering how you are going to fit into normal work clothes when January finally arrives.
For a lot of people, Christmas is a fantastic time full of merriment and wonder, but it doesn’t come without its trials, sent to test you at what can be the most stressful time of the year. Rushing around visiting family you might not see very often, crying and over excited children jumping all over you and too much of the festival tipple can test anyone’s patience and sometimes, it gets too much.
Do we cope very well? Some of us do, but for many people this time of year can bring so much stress it is a wonder we don’t fly into panic and major breakdowns by the end of Boxing Day. And that is just getting through the sales…
1. Getting On With Your Family
Family arguments can be the single biggest worry for anyone in the festive build up. Avoiding family altogether is one way of making sure you stay stress free, but it isn’t the most practical. Or nice to be honest. One way we have found to cope is to make sure you are not in the middle of it when it happens. Steering clear of a row which isn’t yours is a good way to keep your cool, and going for a walk to clear your head works for us every time.
As tempting as it is, hitting the bottle of red (or Rum, if it is handy) isn’t going to make things much better, and is only going to make you feel worse the next day. Or get you in a fighty mood. That old adage of counting to 10 is a good one, even if an old piece of advice, so breathe, count to ten and absent yourself from these difficult moments.
We always keep a little packet of miracles on us for when festive stress gets a little too much. Bachs Flower Remedies, headache tablets (for when the bouncing screaming kids get too much), Berocca to get your system firing on all cylinders and a calm and mellow attitude were packed in the our bag this year for the annual round of Christmas visits.
2. Staying sane with money
Nothing worse than worrying about when that big credit card bill is going to land on the mat in January is there? What is it about Christmas that turns us all into shopping monsters? Doesn’t matter how stern we are with ourselves at the beginning of each year, December rolls round and all that hard work is out of the window. If that sounds familiar, don’t despair. Log on to your online banking now to see the damage (maybe with a strong cup of tea to hand) and start you January budget to get back on track.
It doesn’t have to be a disaster. Voucher codes are a great way of getting you through the next couple of months in a same way, and many websites and apps can give you great discounts on eating out etc, so you don’t have to feel like a boring housebound lady in the new year. Avoid the January sales (it is all tat anyway, honest!), and log on to the Money Saving Expert for some fabulous tips and advice on how to get your year back on track, stress free.
3. Staying healthy
This time of year always feels more stressful because we have punished our bodies with cheeky food choices and often too much alcohol. Season to be merry right? Well don’t let January become a detox dessert, and don’t feel too upset that those clothes are feeling on the tight side. Diet and exercise concerns can be a huge cause of emotional heartache for many at this time of year, but just with money worries, you can change it without being drastic. You don’t need to go on a silly diet – you can take things slow and steady and after a week you’ll already feel more calm, healthy and ready to fire on all cylinders.
At Unsorry Mag, January is a time to re-read all those women’s health and fitness magazines to get ideas and get motivated. It is not a time to start the Dukan Diet and run out and get an overpriced gym membership you can’t afford and you won’t use past February. Exercise DVD’s, games on the Kinect and Wii, getting out for a jog or a walk or even trying a local class at a community centre are much cheaper ways of getting active, and if you combine this with some more veg on your plate, you’ll feel better about yourself in no time.
4. Looking your mental health
Coping with stress at Christmas isn’t about an all or nothing approach – it is about taking a deep breath and making sensible choices, no matter how hard they seem at the time. Whatever your pressure points, emotional wellbeing and stable mental health are vital for everyone, and our little tips go a long way to making ourselves feel more disposed to happy thoughts. Keep your friends around you, and keep smiling and laughing.
If all else fails you should seek help, immediately and don’t feel embarrassed or shy about doing it. Go to your doctor for medical advice as soon as feelings of stress overwhelming you, and keep talking. The Blurt Foundation is a fantastic programme, helping people cope will stress and mental illness, and their website has some great advice, as well as a mentoring system and a blog of inspirational case studies. Follow them on Twitter.
Keep calm everybody. This time of year should be a time of laughter and fun, but if it isn’t, don’t despair. There are lots of ways to pull yourself out of the Christmas slump – make sure you are bounding into next year with a bang!
What are your tips for dealing with stress at Christmas? Let us know in the comments!
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