Can you believe it’s nearly here? 3 more sleeps! Who is the most excited person in your house – you or the children?
Are the presents wrapped? Are they hidden in a cupboard or are they under the tree?
Where are you on the Christmas Calmness Scale?
|I’m pulling my hair out, I’ve got too much to do… and if one more person tells me all they’ve got left to do is peel the veg…||
I’m in a bubble bath drinking bubbles not a care in the world
Stress is our mind and body’s response to a challenge, a deadline or a responsibility to get something done – there’s a few of those at Christmas. At this time of year stress can be triggered by a family argument, traffic jams, fighting siblings or just having too much to do. When we are stressed our brain releases the stress hormone, cortisol – our heart rate might increase and muscles tighten. When we experience short term challenge stress, it can be helpful, it makes us more focussed and alert and we get things done!
However, as much as we love Christmas – it is a lot of work isn’t it?
The Christmas Season can feel overwhelming when there is a deadline looming and we have a list of too many things that we need to get done. You know that list we’re talking about… the one that has EVERY possible thing you’d like to achieve before Christmas alongside all the things you have to achieve before Christmas.
So, for this week’s blog, we’re giving some ideas of how you can get things done but in a way that also promotes a little more calm so that you can embrace that Christmas Zen.
- Choose your happy – take a moment to vividly imagine how you want your Christmas to be (when we do this, our brain is creating a clear picture of what we will be focussing on) – share this with your family too. Ask your family what one thing they would like to do over the Christmas holidays? Plan time in for these activities as a priority – this way everyone has something in particular to look forward to and they know that their time will come.
- Re-write that to do list – when we tick things off a list, our brain likes to give us a little hit of dopamine – that’s the neurotransmitter that gives you the feeling of achievement, pleasure and motivation. However, if that list to too long, complex and un-manageable then it’s going to get that cortisol flowing and have the opposite affect! If your list is full of things that you don’t have to achieve, can we recommend that you start a new list that only includes the tasks that matter to you and your family and not the ones that you think you should be doing.
- Delegate to others – when you look at your list can you allocate jobs (or even parts of jobs) to others? What responsibility can your kids take for elements of the Christmas prep? Giving them opportunities to contribute can also be great for their self-esteem, sense of belonging and shows them you have trust and belief in them too.
- Avoid family conflict – we can’t always control the conversation (especially with that one relative) but we can decide how we are going to respond. Plan an exit strategy to remove you (and/or the offending family member), a polite change of subject, time for a walk or perhaps the turkey suddenly needs basting/carving/putting in the fridge!
- Plan to sleep and rest – it’s likely that you’ve been busy leading up to Christmas. One of the best things we can do to manage stress is to ensure we get enough sleep – and at Christmas time especially we encourage you to embrace the power of a nap. Plan in a number of early night, for the kids as well to encourage keeping some level of routine and prevent unnecessary grumpiness.
- Take a walk – there are so many benefits to getting outside and having a brisk winter walk
- colder temperatures can help you think more clearly
- boosts the immune system
- good for the heart
- boosts serotonin and endorphins (those feel-good chemicals) which reduces stress
- Factor in some downtime for you and the children.
- Enjoy connections – we know that positive interactions with others boost our serotonin (happiness chemical) and reduce our stress levels. So whether it’s connecting with a loved one through zoom or being able to visit them in person – take a moment to really enjoy that time together.
If you are feeling the stress over the next few days, check in with your Christmas Calmness scale, review the list and ask yourself this question:
- What one small thing could I do differently that would move me one step closer to the bubbles?
|I’m pulling my hair out, I’ve got too much to do… and if one more person tells me all they’ve got left to do is peel the veg…||I’m in a bubble bath drinking bubbles not a care in the world|
From all The Youth Fairies and our team, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!