Christmas survival guide: How to get through without the stress

Christmas isn’t always fun. Depending on the year you’ve had, the relationship with your family and how much money is in the bank, lots of us find it easy to feel stressed out and overwrought at this time of year. Human behavioural expert Dr John Demartini has agreed to share some of his secrets to avoiding the most stressful parts of the festive season.

Ignore the pressure to buy lots of presents
In financial terms, 2019 has not been an easy year for many people, so it’s no wonder we aren’t feeling enthusiastic about splashing the cash on a mountain of gifts for people you don’t often see. The key here is to be realistic, said Dr Demartini.

“Be realistic about how much you want to spend this year and how much you can really afford. Don’t exaggerate what is not within your means. Figure out a budget and then make a list of the people that you want to buy for and then divide it up,” he said.
He advises to think with your heart. Demartini said the focus of gifts should always be on the meaningful, rather quality or quantity.

“Spend some time thinking about the types of activities or hobbies the person you’re buying for. If you’re stuck, there is nothing wrong with calling them or emailing them to find out what they’d like,” he said.

Keep some time for yourself
Some people can find the extended festive period with relatives a bit overwhelming. Demartini said it’s wise to plan your Christmas calendar as far ahead as you can, so that you are only committing to the time you want to spend.
“Schedule some time in for yourself over the Christmas break and try not to say yes to everything. Also, be specific about your availability. There is nothing wrong with telling people ahead of time that you’re planning to drop by and only stay for an hour, or even less. Fill your day with inspiring stuff, don’t just commit to other people’s plans. You’ll enjoy the season a lot more.”

Avoid awkward conversations
No doubt your family means well, but there is something about this time of year that makes people feel like they can delve into the personal. Unwanted questions about relationships, work and money can often arise. Demartini said the only solution here is to arrive at your event prepared for those questions.

“Come up with a witty remark or two, so that you can greet the question without feeling pressured to open up. You can also list the benefits or the positives of this area of your life and the year you’ve had.

For example, you might not have a partner this Christmas, but it has freed you up for seeing lots of friends and given you greater flexibility with your plans,” he said.

Christmas isn’t always a happy time for everyone, particularly if you have lost a loved one during the year. While you can never replace that person and you will always feel this gap, it’s important to remember them in a positive way.
Demartini suggests giving yourself time to think about the parts of that person that you really miss and the types of things that they brought to your Christmas celebration. Then try and bring those things to the event yourself, or just talk about them. “You can also spend a bit of time thinking about what you’d like to say to them if they were still here and have a quiet conversation with them in your heart. It’s like sending them a Christmas wish.” What do you find most stressful about Christmas?

WOW Magazine – Living December 2019

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