Try these 7 tips for staying sane during the festive season, from untangling Christmas lights to learning to say no.
Will Christmas this year be different from last year? If your family has changed, be open to changing your traditions too. Keep the rituals that are most important to you, and consider creating new traditions that suit the new shape of your family.
Learn to say no
Agreeing to everything can leave you feeling stressed and powerless. Learning to say no can be the best present you could ever give yourself.
There are a few rules to saying no properly. Say a simple no and briefly state your reason for refusing the request, rather than justifying your decision. Stay calm and repeat your no if the other person doesn’t accept it immediately.
Try the 10-finger gratitude exercise
When you’re stressed, it can be hard to remember all the great things you have in your life.
Once a day, count on your fingers 10 things you’re grateful for. You may think you can’t reach 10, but keep trying until you do – this exercise is all about being more mindful of the little things that contribute to your day.
Lean on your support system
If you suffer from anxiety or depression, seek support from your friends and family members when times are hard. Christmas can bring up difficult emotions and memories, so make sure you stay in touch with your support network as much as possible.
Take a break
If you find yourself spending Christmas with people you don’t get on with, it’s especially important to take time for yourself. Even taking 20 minutes out can help you to feel calmer and more relaxed.
You might spend your break going for an early morning walk, riding a bike, reading a book or listening to music.
Untangle your Christmas lights
Is there anything more maddening than discovering your Christmas lights have managed to tie themselves into knots during the year they’ve been in storage?
For quick detangling, spread the lights out on a flat surface and loosen the knots.
Use a pen or pencil to unravel any knots that are especially tight, and keep the lights you’ve already untangled in a straight line.
After Christmas, take a tip from Martha Stewart – prevent future tangling by cutting slits down the sides of flat pieces of cardboard and wrapping the lights around them, slipping the ends of the wires through the slits.
Know when to stop
Decide in advance when you will stop preparing for Christmas and start relaxing, even if that means some chores will not get done or you’ll have to ask other people to help. You may have planned the perfect Christmas for your family or friends, but you deserve some time to relax as well.