Between the preparations and reunions with family, Christmas can be a great source of stress and anxiety for some. Two health professionals share their tips for reducing pressure and really enjoying the holidays.
- 30% of women and 21% of men are stressed by Christmas preparations.
- For experts, it is necessary to prepare in advance the list of gifts, expenses or even subjects not to be discussed at the table.
- To reduce the pressure, you must also remember to take time for yourself.
If Christmas is synonymous with reunions, gifts and joy with family…. the festivities also have some gray areas. Stress and arguments are also very present during this period. A survey carried out for Travel with Us in 2022 revealed that the holidays are a source of stress for 30% of women and 21% of men or even arguments for more than 6 out of 10 people.
Preparation, purchase of gifts, invitation… there Dr. Sarah Woods and her colleague Rita Smith of UT Southwestern Medical Center assure that there are simple ways to reduce stress and make the holiday season much more enjoyable.
Stress-free Christmas: prepare well before
For Dr Sarah Woods, it is important to start by adjusting your expectations to what is achievable in relation to your work, availability and budget. “This will help relieve the pressure you put on yourself to reach the perfection”assures the expert.
Another tip: focus on the positive: “Think about what you are grateful for and write it down.”says Dr. Woods. “Focusing on the good can help you relax and cope with the not-so-good.”
Once this is done, don’t put down your pencil straight away. The key to stress-free parties, says UT’s Rita Smith Southwesternis the preparation. For her, it’s best to come up with a spending plan for gifts and celebrations, as holiday debts can lead to added stress in the new year. Establishing a strategy in anticipation of meeting loved ones can also be useful. “Talk with your partner about time you want to spend with family members and conversations (politics, religion, parenting, education) which should be avoided”suggests Dr. Woods for her part.
“Stay tuned to everyone’s signals: a hand gesture, a wink, or even a touch on the shoulder will work. If you find yourself in the middle of a difficult conversation with a loved one, try saying: ‘I love you and I respect you. Can we pause this conversation for now and talk about something else?'”, she adds.
Christmas : 4 activities to reduce pressure
“Excess stress wears out our body”explains Rita Smith. “The best Christmas gifts you can give yourself are equal doses of self-care and grace.“ It offers 4 activities that help combat the effects of Christmas holiday stress:
- Take time for yourself: parties should not only be devoted to preparations for Christmas or New Year. Palso take advantage of it to take care of yourself. Do an activity you enjoy or something you need like exercising, getting a massage, taking a nap, or reading a book.
- Eat healthily:he holiday celebrations invite excess. Remember that food and mood are linked. Between Christmas and New Year, give pride of place to dishes rich in vegetables and unprocessed products.
- Stay socially engaged: sIf you are sad because of a loss or disappointment, don’t be alone. Talk to a loved one, a psychologist or your doctor. “Don’t isolate yourself from social activities, even if you don’t feel happy”advises the expert.
- Volunteering : doing good to those around you, in fact also to your own morale. “Bring a meal to a neighbor, go to a senior center and visit residents, or work with a food bank. You will feel a sense of purpose andaccomplishment”, concludes Rita Smith.