Facing down those Christmas stresses
December is upon us, and with it, a toss up of emotions. These range between excitement, mostly for cinnamon-spiced treats, glitzy events, the prospect of a few days off to connect with people dear to us and perhaps even the possibility of romance.
There is also of course the lesser-acknowledged traditional Christmas anxiety. Stress of financial pressures, family gatherings, reminders of losses, loneliness and isolation are a reality often drowned out by Kylie Minogue’s Christmas hits and twinkly lights blaring at us from all angles.
We may all fall into many of those categories, or I’ve missed the mark completely, life is never simple enough to just be in one space. So with all that in mind, let’s take a seat and have a frank conversation about how you can genuinely face some of those Christmas stresses.
X-mas Stressors, the Top Culprits
The UK’s largest gift giving company, Memorisethis.com did a survey in which their customers revealed that after events such as divorce, moving jobs and moving house, Christmas is the 6th most stressful life event. So, with that out in the open, before we can tame the beast, we must know what we’re dealing with. I’ve made a little word cloud below of the top scroogifiers.
It’s widely known that these are the largest causes of stress over the holiday season. Basically, alongside pointing these out, it’s good to realise that if you’re nodding your head to any of them, you can know, you’re not alone.
Slay that Stress!
Now that we’ve all agreed on the culprits above, lets see some of the ways we can effectively deal with them, if not completely nip them in the bud. Many of the stress-inducers above can’t be controlled, like your crazy aunt or mother in law, it is what it is. So I’m not going to engage with them here. Rather, this Christmas let’s focus on the things we can control.
Don’t Miss The Fitness Train
One small look at our Real Time Section will reveal the Platinum team’s plans for staying aboard the Fitness Express over Christmas which should keep you motivated, knowing you’re not the only one trying to stay somewhat disciplined. My philosophy in times like these is that even 10 minutes of exercise is better than nothing.
I know myself, if I don’t workout I just become a nightmare to be around and chances are the food and drink and lazing about might make you grumpy too. Take an hour a day to work out with us at Platinum (we have a killer Christmas class schedule), go for a longer walk with the dogs, or heck, take ten minutes to work out before your morning coffee. Here’s a little workout plan below. See if you can do it twice in 20 minutes and we’ll consider it Santa’s little secret:
Beat The Isolation, Say Yes
It’s not something people admit but we’ve all felt it, some more than others. Isolation is (partly) a by-product of our fast-paced and digital existences. Feeling isolated often makes us less confident to go out and face the crowds making the cycle even worse.
The solution is one I’ve used after having moved to new countries and having to build up new friendships from scratch. The solution is to say “yes”. Make it your personal rule. If someone invites you to a crochet marathon and you don’t have anything else on that day, say yes. Even if you have a crochet phobia, even if you’re exhausted and the last thing in the world you want to do is leave your house, do it. Get out of there and go, don’t over think it.
I know this is easier said than done, but make it a rule even if it’s just for 2 weeks over Christmas that you say yes. If this sounds like an impossible feat, why not take some time to volunteer in an animal shelter, a home for the elderly or a soup kitchen, something guaranteed to make you feel fortunate and blessed.
Dodge Debt: Free Gift Ideas
One thing is for sure, debt and finances over Christmas can be hugely stressful, so in stead of wasting your money on stuff people don’t need why not give these gifts to your loved ones. Yes, they take time and effort which means they will be way more appreciated at the end of the day:
– Put together a cookbook of your favourite recipes. If handwritten, all you’ll need to buy is a cute little booklet to write in, or pay for the printing of the document if it’s typed up.
– Make a Mixtape. Oh the joys of this. Of course it might have to be on a memory stick or CD, but why not give your besties tailor-made mixtapes of songs that shaped your most memorable moments.
– Baking. Little bags of cookies or vegan protein power balls will never be frowned upon.
– Make a photo collage, spend some time finding the real gems of the year and make an epic collage that will have your loved one’s heartstrings officially plucked.
– Write a sincere letter. You know how amazing letter writing is and in today’s digital world a hand written letter is more precious than any stupid lip gloss or bath bubbles.
– Invite your friend or loved one for a day out in nature, hiking, swimming, picnicking, flying a kite, the options are endless.
With that said and done, here’s me wishing you happy and stress-free holidays!