The ‘most wonderful time of the year’…or a recipe for increased anxiety? While Christmas can be full of joy and wonder, fun with friends and well-deserved time off, it can also be pretty stressful. Here’s how to manage stress and fit in some self-care during the festive season.
Why are we so stressed at Christmas?
Christmas means many things to many people. For some of us, it’s full of happy memories, while for others it’s a little more complicated. You might love spending time with your family, and wrapping presents could be your favourite pastime. But there will be moments when you can’t listen to another one of Uncle Geoff’s travelling salesman stories. And you’re fed up with fending off questions about marriage and kids.
Festive anxiety is a real thing, it seems. With symptoms including panic attacks, chest tension, and a sense of impending doom! Not really in line with the meaning of the season! And with the increased holiday spam coming from our Instagram feeds we find ourselves literally trying to keep up with the Kardashians (but on a fraction of their budget!).
Pressure to purchase expensive and thoughtful gifts, plan a beautiful (as well as tasty) feast, be the hostess with the most without catching Covid…it’s no wonder we’re wiped out.
And the usual lists of “How to survive the Christmas season” tend to hinge on planning well in advance or “life hacks”, we wanted to bring things right back down to earth. You’re all busy, so let’s focus on how you can fit in a little self-care this Christmas, without breaking the bank or spending hours at a spa.
How to fit in self-care at Christmas
Christmas can be overwhelming, and adding another complicated beauty routine to your to-do list isn’t going to help that. Why not start with the basics?
- A warm morning shower with the radio on is the perfect way to start your day. Upbeat music, and making sure that your body feels appreciated and cared for as you get clean. And, if you’ve been up all night with a sense of dread, then we find a shower makes everything that little bit better. For bonus points – pick a shower gel with citrus essential oils and you’ll feel much brighter.
- Brushing your teeth may sound a little too simple, but taking the full 2 minutes to care for this part of your body can be a great way to stay mindful in the mornings.
- Applying deodorant does more than just make sure people don’t edge away from around the buffet! The essential oils in our jars can have a wonderful effect on your mood, calming or awakening your senses. Try our Clean deodorant balm in Grapefruit and Mint if you need a bit of a boost. Or our Gentle deodorant Cream in Lavender if you’re feeling a bit tense and anxious.
- Choosing stretchy and comfortable fabrics that don’t feel restrictive when you’re indulging seems a small step, but it puts the emphasis on how you feel, rather than how you look. Instead of worrying how you’re going to fit into your tight jeans and sparkly top for Christmas dinner, concentrate more on feeling comfortable after helping number 2 of turkey!
- Being gentle with yourself at Christmas is important, and more so than ever this year. It’s ok if you have mixed emotions about gatherings and parties. It’s ok if you’d rather not drive across the country dropping off presents. It’s also ok if you find yourself bursting into tears whilst stirring the stuffing. Give yourself time and space to be alone, even for 5 minutes. You are a complicated human being, and you need to be kind to yourself.
Looking after our mental health during the festive season
If you need help managing stress during the festive season, then it’s important to reach out for help, to a friend, or to somewhere like The Samaritans. This year is even weirder than normal, and we’re all dealing with a lot of mixed emotions. Reaching out for help is always a good thing.
As a parting gift (well, it IS Christmas!), we want to leave you with Mind.org’s 10 Commandments to reduce stress:
- Thou shalt not be perfect or even try
- Thou shalt not try to be all things to all people
- Thou shalt leave undone things that ought to be done
- Thou shalt not spread thyself too thin
- Thou shalt learn to say “NO”
- Thou shalt make time for thyself
- Thou shalt learn to switch off and do nothing regularly
- Thou shalt be boring, untidy, and unattractive at times
- Thou shalt not feel guilty
- Thou shalt not be thine own enemy
Keep these in mind and you can look forward to a Christmas enjoying time with those you love, giving gifts you can afford, and eating a lot more cheese than usual!