Christmas is a time when stress levels rise, people frantically rush around, and if only one could buy a stress-free Christmas. While a certain amount of stress is necessary to get moving and take action, an overload of stress is debilitating and at the extreme, fatal. This is what happens to your body with too much stress…
- Your adrenal glands release adrenaline into the bloodstream which restricts blood flow to key muscles and organs.
- Your body prepares for fight (anger) or flight (fear) response. Areas not dedicated to basic survival are shut down for the duration of the crisis, which means you can’t think clearly or logically.
- Blood pressure rises, breathing increases and your levels of blood sugar and high energy fats rise.
If you ignore or fight stress, your immune system becomes weakened and your body becomes ripe for allowing dis-ease or illness to creep in.
Everyone deals with stress differently, and it is your reaction to and the meaning you put on events, that determines your stress levels. When you decide to change your perspective you can release stress, and every layer of stress you let go of is equivalent to adding money to your bank balance. To set yourself up for a great New Year too, discover the one New Year Resolution you must embrace.
Stress Free Christmas
Here are seven simple tips for how to have a stress free Christmas.
- Get organised. You have probably heard the saying, ‘failing to plan is planning to fail.’ Set aside sometime right now and make a list of everything that needs to be done before Christmas. Categorise the tasks, such as social, present buying and wrapping, food preparation, house chores. Prioritise by the level of importance and pick one thing to do right now. When completed, tick it off your list, acknowledge your success and note how good you feel.
- Delete the unimportant. Look at your list and cross off anything that is not really important. Too often, we give ourselves far too many tasks to do, many of which aren’t really important. Challenge yourself to shorten yours down and watch your stress levels diminish instantly.
- Change your expectations. Give yourself a break and remember everything doesn’t have to be perfect, and neither do you. Do you really have to produce gourmet meals, four courses and enough food to feed half an army? Less is sometimes more. When you take the pressure off yourself, you will feel calmer. Studies show that people who are self- compassionate are happier, more optimistic and less anxious or stressed.
- Share the load with others. Enlist the help of your family when it comes to Christmas preparation. If you are inviting guests for a meal, ask them to bring something.
- Say NO. Do you have to go to every function and social invitation? Ask yourself if you really want to, or are you doing it out of obligation? Learning the art of saying no can be empowering and will free up time for you! Another layer of stress gone – plus your waistline might thank you for it too!
- Schedule in time for yourself. Holidays are supposed to be a chance to relax and unwind. Give yourself permission to practice the art of being a human being. Take your watch off and get outside in nature. We are fundamentally energy beings, so it’s vital to take time to recharge your energy and nurture your soul.
- Remember to breathe! Yes, you are already doing this, but do you breathe deeply? Dolphins breathe consciously. They are aware of every breath, so take a lesson from dolphins and practice breathing consciously! This will instantly relieve stress at all levels in your body, your nervous system will have a much needed break and you will be able to re-focus and gain clarity.
2018 will be here whether you are ready or not, and in the famous quote by Geoffrey Chaucer:-
‘Time and tide waits for no man.’
So, change your perspective; do things differently and remember less is sometimes more. Keep things simple, tidy up your loose ends, be happy that you don’t have to be perfect and keep your energy topped up by taking advantage of the beautiful environment we live in. Be gentle with yourself. At the very least it should put a smile on your face – and smiling helps produce dopamine, the ‘happy hormone;- and the antidote to stress and a stress free Christmas!