All is calm, all is bright….

Are you looking forward to Christmas or are you dreading it? Some people will be excitedly counting down the days, whilst others will be wishing it was all over. Christmas should be a time to relax and spend time with family and friends. But instead, for many people, it is a time of increased stress and anxiety, often due to expectations in ensuring that the food, the house and the presents are all perfect. There is also the added pressure of making sure everyone is happy and that there are no arguments! Let’s also not forget the financial worries for many people at this time of year too.

It can also be a particularly difficult time for those people who have lost loved ones or where discord and separation of family members can be highlighted, causing further distress. Christmas is a time for re-igniting many emotional thoughts and feelings for many of us.

With all of this in mind, here are some tips to help you feel more relaxed during this festive period……

Keep your focus on everything positive

Christmas, like everything in life, is what you make it and focusing on the things which could possibly go wrong like the food or the presents will only make you worry constantly. This will ultimately make your stress levels rise and you end up not enjoying the festive period. Instead, why not focus on what you would like to happen – and it will!

Talk about expectations

The need to buy expensive presents due to meeting the high expectations of family and friends can cause worry around the finances at Christmas. Have conversations with them about setting spending limits for gifts. Christmas should not be about buying the most expensive gifts but a time for families and friends to keep in focus and appreciate what they have already.

Ask for help

Ask your family or friends for help. If you are hosting, then Christmas Day can be very demanding, making sure the food is perfect, the house is like a show home and the guests are all happy! Ask your guests, including the children, to get involved by perhaps setting the table or handing round snacks. This takes the pressure off and you can enjoy the day more. It’s all about delegation!

Avoid conflict

Trying to keep the peace between family members can make Christmas fraught with tensions. If you are worrying about possible conflict building, talk to the people concerned beforehand about the importance of keeping the peace and break up the day by going out for walks or drinks in the local pub. Staying indoors with rising tensions can also trigger your own stress levels to do the same!

And finally, make sure there is time for YOU!!!!!

Do something just for you each day such as going for a walk, watching a movie or taking a bath.

When you are stressed at times like Christmas, sleep can be difficult so make sure you do something relaxing beforehand such as taking a bath, listening to some calming music or perhaps reading a book Also, make sure anything you need to remember is jotted down before bed so you can go to bed with a clear mind and then busy thoughts do not prevent you from falling asleep.

Why not try some self-hypnosis? Hypnosis is a great way to relax and gives you time to yourself to learn tools in order to stay calm and relaxed over this busy period. It doesn’t have to take long but practised on a regular basis can reap rewards for your state of mind.

And finally, as you are frantically making sure everyone else is having a perfect Christmas, the tendency is to forget about your own enjoyment and realise that you haven’t even played with the children or enjoyed a glass of fizz with your friends and family. Remember that it’s your Christmas too which you should be able to enjoy.