How To Avoid The Stress Of The Festive Period

Tis the season to be merry – or at least it’s meant to be. For many, Christmas can be one of the most stressful times of years, especially if you’re this year’s host for Christmas dinner. “At this special time of year, we should be focusing on enjoying ourselves and relaxing, but with the constant need for everything to be perfect, this tends to take a backseat,” says Karen Meager, the founder of Monkey Puzzle, and co author of award winning book Real Leaders for the Real World (£12.99, Panoma Press). “There’s a reason why Christmas Eve is a peak day for people getting colds!” Here are Karen’s top tips for making Christmas a breeze:

  1. Organise your ‘to do’ list into categories to help you focus on what’s really important.For example have ‘Must do’, ‘Want to do’ and ‘Nice to do’ actions and then you can sort and focus yourself.
  2. When present buying, think about it from the receivers perspective not what you think they need. Successful present buyers don’t buy presents they think people will need or that they would like them to have, they buy presents the receiver loves or didn’t even know they’d love. Stand in their shoes and think about it before writing the list.
  3. Stick to your budget.Post Christmas money troubles can bring people down to earth with a bang and can leave you struggling for months afterwards, so design a sensible budget and stick to it. There are lots of really wonderful inexpensive things you can do, the value of a present is not an indication of love, it’s the love you put into it that counts.
  4. Let go of being perfect. We all love the John Lewis and M&S adverts, but sometimes we forget they are not reality. I personally loved an ASDA advert a few years back where a lady was drowning in brussel sprouts – that’s much more realistic. So use TV programmes and adverts for ideas rather than setting your expectations too high. People who don’t get on throughout the year are unlikely to get on at Christmas and some people just won’t notice the flower arrangement you spent 5 hours doing!
  5. Think about who you are entertaining. Often people plan their perfect Christmas without thinking about the people they are spending it with. So if your guests don’t like games, don’t do them. If some people like TV and some people don’t can you have two rooms so that people can float between them rather than everyone being forced to do the same thing? Are you really going to make very active and excited children sit down to a long (albeit super) meal? Why not set them up a little Christmas picnic with all the bits so that they can enjoy their new toys? With a little thought the festive period can flow smoothly
  6. Give people roles. Consider who you’ll have around and can you give them jobs or responsibilities that will help you and fulfil their wish to help. Think about what they might like to do. For example who is on drinks duty? Who is organising the TV schedule? Who is the sous chef (or clearer upper)? If people have roles everyone feels involved and you can relax knowing that certain tasks are under control.
  7. Take time out.Christmas can be all consuming, so take out some time to regroup and focus on normal things, or planning something exciting for 2016. There are some great relaxation songs that you can find online which can go along with some quick meditation.
  8. Consider your threshold for socialising over the festive period.We all have thresholds for being around others so take yours into account before you say ‘yes’ to all those invites or agree to hold a party. If you need downtime days or even hours make sure you take them. There’s no need to make a big deal of it and retreat to your bedroom, you can choose to do things that give you energy and a bit of time away from all the hubbub. For example, I like to cook because it gives me downtime, or take the dogs out for a walk.
  9. Think about your health.Avoid reaching January feeling like you’ve gained two stone and could never touch a drop of alcohol again by considering your health needs and planning accordingly. Think strategically about which events you go to, so if you have three party nights all in a row, maybe decide to skip the one you are least excited about and give yourself some recovery time. This is hard for people who don’t like to miss out, but they are also the people who reach Christmas Day and can’t get out of bed. Know your own thresholds and don’t let other people bully you into doing things you don’t want to.
  10. Remember what it’s all about.We can get so caught up with the display and commercial elements of Christmas that we forget that it’s traditionally a time to celebrate and cosy up with the ones you love. That is the most important thing. When you consider that, the last minute table presents you are stressing about don’t seem so important after all do they?
Miss B

Miss B

Miss B is a Belle About Town who likes to bring a little bit of style into every aspect of her life. An experienced journalist with over a decade in the industry she turned to the web to fill a gap for tech-savvy stylish women who want the best life has to offer at their fingertips. She loves a decadent cocktail bar, a beautifully cut dress, the perfect pair of heels, quality over quantity and is partial to Asian-fusion food, enjoys holidaying in the sun and shopping breaks to New York. But her first love is of course London!


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