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Christmas Stress, Less and Gone!

Stressed less will ensure the happiest time of the year, this Christmas. Managing your diabetes condition, with the pressure on to put up the most Insta-worthy Decs and rustle-up a Michelin-standard lunch, it is not surprising that most of us feel, more frantic than festive, during this most important season. Don’t panic! Follow these tips and have yourself a Very Merry Free of Christmas Stress!

1. Planning is Crucial to reduce Christmas Stress

When there’s a lot to do, the difference between breezing through and panicking is often forward-planning. Some people even buy their presents in the January sales and wrap them up ready for the following year, says our time management coach. If that’s you, there’s no need to read on, but if the mere thought of Christmas sends you into a panicked frenzy, it’s time to get organised and stressed less.

First, think about what’s important to you at Christmas, so that you know what to prioritise. We recommend a master list divided under subheads for food, presents, decorations and parties. Write down everything that needs to be done and make a plan of action for each week. Do not forget, and allow time to unwind too, so you’re not exhausted, or on a short fuse and stressed less, say wellbeing experts.

2. The Money Issue IS Christmas Stress

With the average family spending over a US$1000 on Christmas and many of us buying on credit, money can be a huge source of stress. Even a US$17 gift could end up costing you over US$55 if you pay for it on an expensive credit card. As much as we hate discussing money, we need to break this taboo. Broach the subject by saying, do you mind if we restrict costs this year? Remember you’re probably not the only one dreading that January credit card statement. We suggest doing Secret Santa for the adults with a higher price point so everyone gets something decent.

Now could also be a good time to look at your relationship with money and the messages you are sending your kids by over-spending. If you keep buying more and more and yet fretting about money, you are sending mixed messages to the next generation. Don’t say, we’re broke this year so we’re cutting back on presents, as that will create a scarcity mindset. Instead try, we’re doing things differently this year. Or maybe this is your God given opportunity to have a conversation about values and consumerism for the sake of the entire planet. Also consider, what’s important to the adults in your life — lavish gifts or time with loved ones?

3. Coping with the In-Laws

What do you do if your in-laws seem to disapprove of everything you do? Don’t rise to it. Christmas is about being the ‘bigger person’ and letting go of the need to be right all the time. Responding with gentle humour may diffuse the situation. Talk to your partner before the big day and ask for their help. Keep the tone neutral with statements to describe how you feel. Say — “I feel like my efforts aren’t appreciated” rather than “your family are always on my back”. Chances are they may be oblivious to how upset you are feeling. If your mother-in-law has a habit of taking over your kitchen, try empathy, over irritation. Some women find it hard to hand over the reins. What your in-laws mean when they interfere is ‘I want to know I still matter’. It might pain you to do so, but try to involve them as much as you can, as it will allay their feelings of being redundant.

4. Great Expectations

We’ve all seen too many John Lewis ads to sail through this season without some preconceived ideas, but you’ll have more fun if you don’t stress over every detail. If you feel you ‘must’ do certain things, ask yourself, why? If you’d rather do Christmas differently this year, the key is to let people know early so they have plenty of time to get used to the idea and make arrangements. If your family expect to stay with you, but tend to overstay their welcome, be clear when you would like them to leave. Say something direct like, “we would love you to come from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day morning”.

5. The Day Itself

If the marathon task of cooking Christmas lunch has fallen to you, then here’s how you’re going to stay calm and keep it all on track. First, work out what time you want to eat and work backwards from there. Make yourself a timetable like they do on Master Chef. Pre-prepare as much as you can. For example, peel the potatoes the night before and keep them in a pot of water. If you’re uncertain on timings, Delia Smith and Nigella have worked it all out for you – look it up on YouTube in advance. Remember it’s not about turning out the most perfect meal imaginable. You don’t need 50 types of veg, or even a big turkey. Keep it simple. All the supermarkets sell turkey crowns these days, too.

Most people would rather lend a hand than watch you running around frantically. Too many of us feel like we need to do it all ourselves. If help is offered, accept it and if something goes wrong, pause and take a deep breath, but no crying. Remember, people will celebrate the day, not that you made four sauces from scratch!

E347 – Christmas Stress, Less and Gone! –

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