While the Christmas holidays are generally a time to be merry and see family and friends (though not too many this year), it can be a stressful time for some people.
If you’ve ever tried to coordinate a Christmas dinner by yourself, you probably know things can get a bit hectic, at a time when most of us are supposed to be taking a break from work.
Ezra, a leading global provider of digital coaching, therefore presents some top tips on getting the most out of the Christmas period.
Stress is often a mixture of pressure and anxiety, while the festive season can bring a lot of it.
If you have multiple tasks planned, we’d recommend you write them down in a list to help you manage your time.
Just make sure you also plan and schedule some downtime. There comes a time when preparations need to stop and you should relax and enjoy yourself with friends or family within your bubble.
You should slow down, see and appreciate the things that matter most.
This applies to any time of year, though at Christmas it could mean enjoying gifts you receive or just being in the company of family.
We’d recommend you set a relaxed schedule during the period.
Plan and prepare – but also relax
Prepare well ahead of time, but if something doesn’t work out try and go with the flow.
Just focus on what you can control and most importantly enjoy the day and festive period with your loved ones.
Don’t feel like you need to mirror the ‘perfect’ Christmas you see on social media.
You can’t do everything so divide chores between your family to share the burden.
Remember, a job shared is a burden halved.
Hold on to some daily rituals
Try to maintain some sort of normal routine.
For example, if you enjoy reading for half an hour before bed don’t give it up for yet another holiday chore or task.
Our everyday practices can help to calm and centre us
Apply the 30-minute rule
While we want our place to look fantastic at Christmas – and for our family bubble – try to avoid doing some form of preparation that takes more than 30 minutes.
The end goal is to smarten up the house a little, not turn it into a showroom fit for the Queen.
Escape the house
Avoid spending every hour cooped up in your living room.
We’d recommend taking a mental breather by going for a walk.
Make use of time-savers
It’s okay to save time. For example, if you can’t make homemade cakes or don’t have time to create a certain dish from scratch – don’t be afraid of ordering/buying it in.
On a related note, the freezer is your friend.
A surprising number of dishes can be made ahead of time. Potatoes, parsnips, and stuffing can all be cooked and frozen, then defrosted and reheated in the oven on the day itself.
This can help reduce stress on the day, and give more time to spend with loved ones.
Stick with tried and tested
A special gathering is not the time to experiment with a new recipe. Do what you know how to do.
Remember to focus on the time spent with the people you’re gathering with, rather than obsessing about things like the preparations and menu.
Bring the family together with a board game.
Technology plays such a huge part of the family Christmas these days, though there are times when it’s important to put mobile devices to one side and come together.
Keep cool during any family drama
If your family bubble brings potential for drama, keep calm.
Before releasing all your frustration with a rant at an unsuspecting family member, try and retreat to a quiet place to calm down – or if that fails open up that box of chocolates as a peace offering.
Founder of Ezra, Nick Goldberg, commented:
Christmas is a time to savour, so you should make the most of it.
That means taking the necessary steps to avoid suffering from stress over the period.
While gatherings may be more low-key this year, Christmas is a time where you should enjoy the company of your loved ones.
Above all, don’t let tasks get in the way of having some well-earned downtime.”