So, you’ve bought your presents early, shopped online where you can and you haven’t overspent. Well done! These are all ingredients that help to prevent stress in the lead up to Christmas. But what about Christmas day itself? Will friends; family, or even comparative strangers surround you? Is the idea of cooking or entertaining on a mass scale just a bit intimidating? Whether your Christmas day is big and busy or on a much smaller scale, there always things you can consider in order to remain calm.
First, if there are children in the house, expect to be woken - early. We all know this - it’s a part of the excitement of Christmas. Still, if you’re the type who really suffers when you can’t get your full eight hours an obvious thing to consider is going to bed earlier. Okay, this won’t work for everyone and anyway you may already have company, in which case it’s likely you’ll be up later than usual. In these circumstances you may just need to bite the bullet or perhaps consider working an hour into the following day where you can doze off. What won’t help is if you drink too much alcohol the night before. You’ll just wake up feeling more tired, heavy-headed and grumpy. Not a great start for Christmas day.
You stumble into the kitchen at 4 a.m. or whatever, and you’re doing some serious yawning. Your instinct may be to get the coffee on but if you know you’re tired and prone to stress it may be better to consider the alternatives. Caffeine helps to produce the stress hormone cortisol and if you’re already tired it’s not the best combination. Alternatives might be a good decaff (they really are worth trying these days), or fresh fruit juice or maybe a tomato juice with Worcestershire sauce to add a little kick.
Other people are always going to be an issue. A sour comment, or someone who drinks too much, can easily throw a wet blanket over everything. The trick here is not to feel that you are responsible or that you have to control everything. If these people are adults, they are responsible for their own behavior and if they are children it’s down to parental responsibilities. It can also be worth thinking about the numbers. A handful of people may sound easier to cope with but the smaller the numbers the more intense things can become. Larger numbers will generally have the effect of diluting potential problems and maybe even throw in a few extra helping hands.
Don’t forget to drink. I’m not thinking of alcohol so much as other fluids. Lack of fluid tells the body it’s stressed and it’s easy to forget to drink when you’re occupied with preparing food or keeping others entertained.
Fresh air is always refreshing and gives a good boost to the system. Some families build in a Christmas day walk as part of their tradition. Before lunch it helps to work up an appetite, whereas after a big lunch it can help to reduce the sluggish, tired and heavy feeling that comes with over-indulging.
Then of course we have sleeping. This is a favorite post-dinner pastime in some families and they feel completely guilt free about it. Good for them. Struggling to stay awake when you’ve been up since before dawn is challenging to say the least. If this is difficult you should at least try to break away from the activities, even if it’s just to close your eyes for 20 minutes or so. You may find you start a trend.
Published On: December 14, 2012