How to Have a More Mindful and Stress-free Christmas
Christmas is a time where families and friends get together over delicious food and drink. Presents are exchanged and everyone has a fun time. But what happens if you are getting stressed about Christmas? Perhaps there’s a more mindful way of dealing with the pressures of the festive season. We certainly think so. Here’s how to have a mindful and stress-free Christmas.
How to Have a More Mindful and Stress-free Christmas
If You Are Hosting Christmas
Prepare yourself mentally
We put a lot of effort into the food and decorations but we don’t think how Christmas will affect us mentally. Our routines are disrupted, we have guests in our houses, and as hosts, we are expected to be on call 24/7. Be realistic about what Christmas looks like in your home. It might not be the romantic log fire, grateful children and perfectly cooked turkey you hoped for.
Lower your expectations
It’s easy to have high expectations and want everything to be perfect. But remember, this is just one or two days with a fancier roast dinner and more people than usual.
In addition, the memories we tend to hold in high esteem are the ones where something didn’t quite go to plan. Or the times where everyone pitched in and it was a real family affair.
You might be the person who normally organises Christmas and gets all the food and drinks in. Or you may be the only person who bothers to go out shopping for presents for the family. And there is always one person who seems to end up doing all the cooking and sits down to eat completely frazzled. So how to manage this stress?
Delegate the chores
Christmas is not about one person doing everything. It is about everyone coming together and enjoying the company. So, whether you are a couple, a large family or a group of friends. Write down what needs to be done, choose amongst yourselves the best person to do it, and stick to the list.
Limit present spending
We all like to spoil our loved ones but Christmas can be a real worry for those who have to manage on a low budget. Of course, parents want to get their children what is on their Christmas list, but if you don’t have the money, ask them to pick one main present and lots of smaller ones. You can always set a budget for the main present.
As for adults, you might decide that you don’t buy into the whole commercial aspect of Christmas. Instead, you might prefer to do something special for your partner. Handmade gifts are becoming more and more popular because they show a level of thought behind the gift.
Bring Your Own……
Likewise, don’t feel as if just because you are hosting this year that you are expected to provide all the food and drink. Ask family members to contribute. For example, we know of gatherings where it is traditional for the parents to bring the turkey. Others where the guests decide who is bringing the nibbles, the drinks, the dessert etc.
Think about an individual’s needs
Does grandpa always have a nap in the afternoon? Do certain members of the family want to watch the Strictly Christmas Special? Will the kids disappear with their new toys? Think about the individual guest’s comfort. It is a good idea to set aside an hour after Christmas lunch or dinner to relax and grab some ‘me time’.
Keep it simple
Also, don’t feel as if you have to offer ten different varieties of vegetables, five alternative desserts, and a complex selection of wines or fabulous canapes on arrival. Two vegs are perfectly fine, Christmas pudding and one other dessert are quite acceptable and red and white wine are all you need to offer.
If You Are a Guest at Christmas
Go with the flow
It’s so easy to get stuck in your own way of doing things. You might always have a Bucks Fizz in the morning. Or you might always criss-cross the Brussels sprouts, or use goose fat for the potatoes. It is important to remember that other people are likely to have their own way of doing things. They might be a new couple starting up their own traditions. Or they may be an older family who has always stuck to the same recipes.
Offer unconditional help
It can be hard, especially if you have asked if you can help, to not be critical. Think about how you would feel if you had spent hours preparing the food, then you had sweated over a hot oven to get it all out and someone said: “We don’t do it that way in our house at Christmas.” You would feel completely unappreciated.
At Christmas, you might be spending time with a family member that you would not normally see. With the wine flowing and beers readily available, things can be said that are regretted later.
Accept you are not in control
If you find yourself in this situation it is good to step back and be mindful for a few seconds. Be in the present moment, not sometime in the future. Tell yourself that there are a lot of things out of your control right now, and you cannot change that. But you are in control of how you react. It is your choice how you respond to other people’s behaviour.
Take time out
If you find things are getting fraught and you feel claustrophobic, take yourself off for a walk. Getting some fresh air and exercise is good for your physical and mental health.
Take the time to reflect on everyone’s health and wellbeing. Not to mention the fact that you are all sat around a table together is a wonderful thing.
Family and friends are not here forever. Cherishing Christmas with them gives you wonderful memories to hold on to.