12 stresses of Christmas

12 stresses of Christmas

Do you find Christmas stressful? You aren’t alone. I’ve recently saw a study where Christmas is ranked in the top six stressors in life. We have a choice of continuing as usual or make some changes. Even if you only realise that it isn’t just you feeling stressed.

  1. Food

After all the Christmas food from parties, catch ups, Christmas Day meals and Boxing Day leftovers, do you feel bloated and unhealthy? Imagine what your poor old body is going through. Mince pies, pudding, cake, roasts, seafood, and so many carbs! We hang out for our first mince pie of the season and then by January we don’t want to see another one ever again.

Our bodies require good quality nutrition to function at its best, so when we don’t have good food, we feel it. We are not talking about sacrificing the niceties of celebrating Christmas and New Year. But plan to have some healthy food in between social events.

2. Alcohol 

What’s your favourite Christmas beverage? Bubbles, eggnog, mulled wine or Christmas cocktails? Or a mix of everything. Cheers

We tend to overindulge over Christmas and unfortunately alcohol stressed the body. Alcohol alters the brain’s chemistry. It also releases higher amounts of cortisol hormone and decreases the amount of serotonin making us less happy and more anxious. Just what we need – more stress and anxiety.

It doesn’t mean we have to give up but be mindful of the amounts and try and have some alcohol-free days and plenty of water.

  1. Burning the Christmas candle at both ends

During December, there just isn’t enough hours in the day; work, work parties, school breakup, graduations, shopping for food, drinks and presents, late nights and early mornings. It’s exhausting just thinking about it. By the time the 25th December comes about, we are burnt out and become short-tempered with our family.

Try and budget your time. Maybe practice saying no. Catch up with some friends after Christmas, when we all have more time.

  1. Less Exercise 

Because we are so busy going out, meeting everyone’s needs and getting ready for Christmas Day and Holidays, we seem to run out of time for exercise. Exercise helps to relieve stress and so if we skip it, we feel more overwhelmed. It doesn’t mean you have to do an hour every day if you don’t have time but factor in what you can. If that is a 10-minute walk around the block, do it. The interaction with nature, even suburban nature, will help you feel connected. Just try to get some activity in daily.

  1. Financial 

This is the time of the year that we spend the most money. Christmas presents, food, drinks, parties, new clothes, holidays. Much of that for most people goes on the credit card. Last year $24 billion credit card debt was racked up on Christmas.

Secret Santa’s are great to reduce cost. It usually works amongst the family adults or work colleagues. Each person draws a name out a hat and buys just for just that person.

  1. Throw out culture

After the mayhem of opening presents on Christmas Eve or morning, have you ever noticed the mountain of Christmas paper, cards and envelopes, boxes and plastic. We set the table with Christmas crackers and disposable napkins. All this wrapping becomes rubbish in a matter of minutes, and we spend so much money on it all.  Stocking fillers and presents that will be in the bin within a few weeks.

  1. Hectic Lead Up

Why, oh why does December have to be so busy? No wonder they call it the silly season. We seem to catch up with every single person we have ever met.  Every workplace and organisation we are associated with has a Christmas event. I go from nothing to do in July to out every single night in December. Don’t get me wrong. It’s great fun but by New Year’s Day, it’s time for rest.

  1. What to buy everyone?

Do you ever get stressed about what to buy some people? Some people seem to have everything and buying them presents can be really hard. If only we had bought presents during the year when we see things that remind you of a person. Over the years, we have been buying experiences rather than things. I guess that is our minimalist lifestyle.

  1. Family dynamics 

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan said “My family is my strength and my weakness”. Christmas is all about family but at the same time, don’t we push each other’s buttons. Don’t think you are the only one with tense family dynamics, not many families are all Brady Bunch. When you put a bunch of people in one room, who might be tired with a bit of history between them and then add drinks in the mix, what happens?  It can become a recipe for tension.

As kids grow up and get married, they have two or more families to balance at Christmas. Everyone wants to see them and their kids. It can seem like a competition sometimes. To the young people, my advice is to establish some traditions early that are fair on everyone but that you are happy with. Maybe alternate Christmas Day each year, Allocate one family for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.  Combining families can work depending on the dynamic.

  1. No family

While some people have too many family members and the associated clashes, are you someone that has no family alive anymore, or are estranged from them, or they are overseas. It can be a lonely time of year as everyone is obsessed with family. I like the idea of “orphan” Christmas. Friends getting together that aren’t necessarily orphans, but don’t have family to go to over Christmas.

  1. Loneliness and sadness

Christmas is marketed as a happy time but for many it isn’t. With all the festivity floating around, it can highlight to some how sad they feel. Charities run big Christmas day lunches for just that reason. Whether that is from grief of losing family or friends, or depression, take time to notice whether any of your friends are struggling.

  1. Busy day

Have you ever seen the episode of Victor of Dibley where she gets invited to four Christmas lunches? It’s hilarious as she tries to squeeze more and more food in and not upset her hosts. Is that your Christmas Day? Breakfast at one place, lunch at another and dinner at a third place. It’s times like this where you swear you will never eat again. Other than saying no to someone or spreading the love over a few days, the key is to pace yourself with the food and particularly the alcohol over the day.