Top tips for stress-free Christmas

Christmas is undoubtedly a busy time for many of us. With more things to do than you can shake a candy cane at, the nights out, visits to family and the added expense not to mention more alcohol (and inevitable hangovers) added into the mix. Perhaps you’re a bit of a perfectionist and agonise over buying the perfect gift, cooking a flawless lunch or getting everything just right on the day for your kids. Or maybe it’s being out of your normal day-to-day routine that adds to your list, especially if it means you have less time for yourself or are getting less sleep. 

So, how can we make the countdown to Christmas festive, happier and less stressful? RESCUE®, the UK’s number one emotional wellbeing brand*, partnered with Chloe Brotheridge, hypnotherapist, coach and author of ‘The Anxiety Solution’, to bring six practical strategies for how to help ease some of that holiday load.

What would ‘good enough’ look like

If you’re prone to being a perfectionist, remember this, perfectionism isn’t about high standards, it’s actually about never feeling that things are good enough. It’s not the pursuit of what’s good, but instead the pursuit of what’s bad. You can’t win and it’s a sure way to burn out and never feel satisfied. If this is the case for you, ask yourself what ‘good enough’ would look like. What is a good enough gift, outfit or dinner? Then remind yourself that good enough is always enough. 

Rethink your triggers

The festive period can be a minefield for our triggers, where the words or actions of others can trigger painful emotions within us. The colleague who asks you ‘why you’re still single’ at the Christmas party, the parent who treats you like you’re still 15 or your partner having one too many drinks and being argumentative. An effective way to navigate these difficulties is to think beforehand about what things may come up and then mentally rehearse how you’d like to respond instead. That might look like coming up with the ideal pithy reply, deciding to take the high ground and stay in your integrity or choosing to walk away and take some deep breaths. Making a plan for how you’ll respond will help you to manage these difficult moments more easily. 

Try the ‘Physiological Sigh’

Braving the shops on Christmas eve? Up until midnight wrapping presents? Roast potatoes setting off the smoke alarm? Try this breathing method to quickly promote feelings of calmness. Dr Andrew Huberman from Stanford University created the ‘physiological sigh’. It can be done discreetly, and the resulting calmness happens right away. To do this, take a deep breath in through your nose followed by another smaller, quicker breath through the nose. After both in-breaths, exhale slowly out through the mouth. Do this one to three times to calm your nervous system quickly.

Ask for help 

Many of us are great at helping others but find it hard to ask for or even accept help ourselves. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, think about some specific ways that others could help out. Make the decision beforehand that if someone offers you help, you’ll say yes – even if it feels uncomfortable for you to do this. Write a list of tasks that could be taken off your plate, such as bringing a dessert to Christmas dinner, helping you to wrap the kids presents or taking the dog for a walk. There are no prizes for doing everything yourself and many people want to help out and feel useful – don’t deny them the joy of helping!

Switch off and unplug 

With everything extra that Christmas brings, it can be helpful to remove some of the mental noise from our lives so that we don’t get overwhelmed. Whatever that looks like for you, find a way to unplug and switch off. That might mean deleting the social media apps from your phone, steering clear of the news for a few days, making sure your out-of-office is firmly on, or deciding to put your phone in airplane mode after 7pm in the evening. 

Stick with some routine

Our routine can be like an anchor that helps us to feel secure and safe. If you find yourself away from home for the holidays, try and maintain some level of normalcy in terms of your routine. Whether that means going on a couple of runs or keeping up with your daily 10-minute meditations, sitting down to drink a calming tea before bed; staying consistent with certain aspects of your routine will help you to take care of yourself and make it easier to get back into the swing of things once Christmas is over. 

Maintain your inner control and keep on top of your days with RESCUE® Remedy by your side. It is a combination of five specially blended Bach™ Original Flower Essences and can be used anytime, anywhere and is suitable for all the family.

RESCUE® 

The RESCUE® products are available from Boots, Holland & Barrett, Sainsburys, Superdrug, Waitrose, independent pharmacies nationwide and online at www.amazon.co.uk.

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