Christmas is the time of year many of us associate with joy, fun and family. For parents however, Christmas can also be associated with more than a fair amount of stress.
From the financial pressures of gift giving to the labour-intensive process of cooking and cleaning for the family, the mental load of Christmas can turn the season of joy into one of overwhelming stress and exhaustion.
To add to the pressure, studies have shown that a parents’ stress can have negative effects on their children, causing increased feelings of anxiety and aggression.
To make the holidays less stressful and more enjoyable for both you and your child, it helps to make a few simple changes in the way we look at and approach the Christmas season.
Let go of perfection
One of the quickest ways to stress yourself out is trying to make everything perfect. From Christmas lunch to the way gifts are wrapped, aiming for perfection is not only unrealistic but also takes a lot of fun out of the holidays.
It’s also a quick way to make you feel terrible about yourself if you don’t reach the unrealistic expectations you’ve set.
It helps to be realistic when it comes to Christmas by reminding yourself that sometimes things don’t go to plan, and that’s ok!
Most of the time it’s in the imperfections where we find the most joy, and many happy memories come from things that don’t go quite right.
Reassess and delegate
One thing that makes Christmas way more stressful than it needs to be is that never ending list of things to do before the big day.
Go through your list and see what you can cut. Do you really need to make hand crafted placeholders? Can you just pick up some mince pies at the supermarket rather than making them yourself?
Trimming anything unnecessary off you list frees up time, space and energy for more important things, so you can spend that extra time enjoying your loved ones company.
Of the items left on your list, see what you can delegate, and when people offer to help, accept it! Let nana bring the pudding and say yes when someone offers to help with the dishes.
Do something just for you
Christmas is the season of giving, so don’t forget to give yourself a little treat too!
It doesn’t have to be anything huge- it could be a relaxing bath uninterrupted or treating yourself to a muffin the next time you’re at the shops.
Don’t save this just for Christmas! Treating yourself to something special now and then is a great way to boost your mood and show yourself the appreciation you deserve.
Nothing stresses us out more than a packed calendar.
It’s ok to say no to the work Christmas party, and you don’t have to visit your mum’s great aunt who you don’t even talk to all year.
This can be scary at first, but saying no is like a muscle that gets stronger each time you use it.
Saying no to others means saying yes to yourself and your kids, giving you more time and energy to spend doing things that bring you joy instead of obligations you’ll grow to resent.
If things get a bit overwhelming during the Christmas period, it can help to take a step back and remind yourself of what’s important.
Spending time with loved ones, seeing the smile on your child’s face and kicking back at the end of the day are far more valuable than trying to make everything perfect.