Managing the holiday season

Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year. Given the need to meet end-of-year work demands, navigate busy shopping centres, travel, and family obligations, it can be particularly difficult to manage our stress. To make the holiday season go smoothly, here are some tips to remember.

1. Presents – if you have a large circle of family and friends, consider presents for children only, set a limit of the cost of presents for each person, or presents that do not cost money such as something hand-made or personalised, or giving your time and experience through babysitting, painting, or gardening.

2. Shopping – making a list of presents to buy before going to the shops will save time wandering around for inspiration and money from impulse purchases. Purchasing gifts now or via online shopping will also reduce time pressures.

3. Christmas lunch or dinner – delegate tasks where possible if the Christmas lunch or dinner will be cooked at home, keep the meal plan simple, consider a ‘buffet’ style meal where everyone brings a platter, consider grocery shopping online to have food delivered, and make reservations for restaurants as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

4. Relationships – it is normal to experience tension and stress with family and friends at times during the holiday season. Strategies to help reduce stress include setting realistic expectations for interactions with family, avoid conversation topics that can become heated, use relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, and plan activities such as games to keep everyone entertained.

5. Health – when it comes to eating and drinking, moderation is key. Remember to be mindful of the amount of alcohol and food consumed, maintain enough sleep, and keep up with regular exercise to alleviate stress.

Growth Psychology wishes everyone a safe, joyful, and relaxing holiday season!