Merry Christ-mess

Ah, the festive season. Apparently ’tis the season to be jolly. Sorry if I sound like Scrooge but I’m just not feeling it.

The media’s hung up on fiscal stress this festive season but it’s not my pocket that’s suffering. I braved my local shopping centre this week. I got shoved in the lift, elbowed in Target and scowled at in the supermarket.

At home, heightened expectations of ‘family time’ or feelings of isolation, the pressure to shell out and free-flowing booze all add up to a serious health (and wellbeing) hazard.

So here are my ‘better late than never’ tips for a stress-free Christmas:

Be realistic. If you bicker with the family all year round, don’t expect Christmas with The Waltons. Keep family gatherings short, don’t discuss politics or religion or parenting. Don’t get too drunk. Send everyone on their way with a smile. Then bolt the door and breathe.

Say no. No, you don’t have to go to every Christmas party. No, you don’t have to buy presents for the cousins you haven’t spoken to all year. No, you don’t have to make a croquembouche. Cut yourself some slack.

Maintain healthy habits. Whether it’s alcohol or food, over indulgence is all too easy, but hangovers and an expanding waistline will just add guilt to the mix. Make “everything in moderation” your mantra, get plenty of sleep and make time for some green exercise.

Take a break. Christmas can end up being all about other people but its essential that you take some time for you. Meditate, take a walk, listen to music, read a book, breathe deeply.

Remember, it’s just one day of the year. Be good to yourself this Christmas. And please, don’t go shopping without full body armour.

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