Things such as financial worries, family tensions, gift giving, or simply reflecting on another year gone by can all undermine one’s Christmas spirit.
A survey conducted by Consumer Reports, asking people what (if anything) they dread most about the holidays, revealed that 90 per cent of people stress over at least one thing during the year-end festivities.
Although not all holiday stress can be eliminated, there are a few simple tips that might help lighten the holiday mood:
•Large crowds and long lines can be stressful at any time, and there are many more of them to deal with during the holiday season. The Consumer Reports survey indicated that 68 per cent of people felt lines were a big contributor to their stress levels.
“Festive cheer all too easily gives way to seasonal shopping stress,” psychologist David Lewis told the London Telegraph.
•The best way to avoid long lines and large crowds is by doing your Christmas shopping before December hits. Never leave Christmas shopping until the last minute.
•Shopping online can also be a big time-saver, and it can be done from the comfort of your home. A survey conducted in 2013 by Econsultancy, an online research site, found 61 per cent of the 1,000 people who participated in the survey completed more than half or all of their Christmas shopping online, and numbers are expected to rise this year. While shopping online, it is important to know the return policy as well as if the package will arrive before Christmas.
•If you are one of the 31 per cent of people stressed about gaining weight this festive season, it might help to figure out a routine that will minimize the amount of weight you gain. The best way to survive family parties or other Christmas events is to take small portions of everything offered and go back for more after 30 minutes, if your hunger is not satisfied.
If you really enjoy something that is being served, ask for the recipe or whether you can take the remaining amount home. This way, you can portion it so that you are not eating too much at a time. In the weeks leading up to a Christmas event, fill your fridge with healthy food and snack on fruit and vegetables. This will ensure a lesser amount of guilt if you overeat at a party. Another way to minimize weight gain is to keep fit and active. Do something consistently, like running every day for half an hour. Remind yourself to drink lots of water as it can boost your metabolism.
•Planning ahead is one of the best ways to avoid stress around Christmas time. Make lists of things you need to do before Christmas: for example, shopping, food and presents, decorations, seating plans or travel arrangements. Ensure your lists are sufficiently detailed, and include people’s phone numbers or email addresses to make contacting them easier. Having a well-devised plan will help ease stress, and will facilitate getting things done more efficiently.
The holidays can be stressful, but they do not have to be. It is important to keep these simple remedies in mind as the Christmas season comes into view. Do not commit to things that will put your stress levels over the top, and remind yourself constantly what Christmas really means to you.
After all, it is not about how much you spend, buy, or do during this season — it is about family, friends, spending quality time together, and making memories that will last for a lifetime.
Isabela Jiminez is a Grade 12 student in the Writer’s Craft course at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic High School in Guelph.
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