What Matters Most - 12 tips for Xmas

16-12-2012 09:35:00

Avoiding Christmas Stress

For lots of different reasons many individuals and families find the festive season anything but festive! Most adults and many children experience added emotional and financial pressures at Christmas. Coupled with this, there are the added burdens of managing our own and others expectations, as well as the downside of too much self-reflection.
The following strategies have been compiled by the Parent Line Counselling team, to help in preparing for, managing and hopefully, even enjoying the Christmas/New Year period.

  • Try to look after yourself in the busy lead up to Christmas. This may mean regular relaxation or exercise time, getting enough sleep, not overdoing it at Christmas parties etc.
  • Try to have realistic expectations about this period and to prepare for possible relationship issues and tensions that may come with spending more time with family/extended family. This might involve being aware of triggers to family conflict and using diversionary tactics or other strategies including boundary setting and avoidance.
  • Try to keep things simple and set boundaries around the money spent on gifts and amount of social events you attend. For example, having only presents for kids or a family/homemade ‘Kris Kringle’ may cut expenses. Give yourself permission to ask for help or take shortcuts with Christmas lunch etc.
  • Try to be present and to enjoy each moment. Mindfulness strategies can help with this, for example noticing the sights, sounds, smells and other sensory delights of Christmas.
  • Consider and reflect on the spiritual/non-material values of Christmas and how you may participate in these, for example volunteering for or donating to a charity or worthwhile cause, helping a family or friend in need etc
  • Take time to reflect on what you are appreciative of and to focus on the opportunities at Christmas, for example to spend time with loved ones, to engage with others in a spirit of kindness and generosity.
  • Be gentle with yourself, if you find any of these strategies difficult to implement! You will find what works for you

Parent Line counsellors are on call 24/7 to discuss any issues that relate to your family, there is also information on our website www.parentline.org.au 1300 1300 52