How to survive Christmas Reduce stress and enjoy the season

Issue: 4 / 2014
The impending approach of Christmas can make trying to accomplish all holiday duties feel overwhelming. Life coach Désirée A. Steinmann suggests a few ways to keep calm over the yuletide.

Instead of experiencing this period as special, spiritual or as a time for personal relationships, it often means stress, impatience, disagreement and rejection. That's because most of us are out of balance.

We have very high demands during this time that everything should be perfect. The apartment should be decorated in the holiday spirit, cookies should be homemade, we search for that perfect gift for everyone in the family, the beautiful clothes, great meals (mostly too much food which also throws us out of balance), and often we are surrounded by so much family that we're not sure what to expect.

If you feel overly strained and stressed, take a moment of peace and silence and find a way out of the holiday trap. Ask yourself these key questions:

"What do I enjoy in how I celebrate Christmas?" Then keep the answer in your mind and focus on it.

"How does Christmas stress me?" Try to find a specific answer for this.

On a practical level, here are a few tips that might help you to relax better:

  • Split up the tasks and ask the family for help.
  • Plan more time just to be by yourself.
  • If the gift situation overwhelms you, start to use a new model: for instance, buy only small gifts, only for children, or perhaps have a family drawing of names and you only buy a gift for the name drawn. Just be creative.
  • If you lack time for baking or simply don't like baking, ask around and find out who enjoys it and perhaps you can find a solution that way.
  • Does the volume of Christmas cards drive you to the edge? Just write up a review of the year and send it to those in your mailing list. For some recipients such a review could be more meaningful than the usual season's greeting!

And if all else fails, try these Christmas gift suggestions from Texan novelist, journalist, and humorist Oren Arnold,

"To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect."

Christmas can be a very special time, if you focus on how to make this time special for your family and yourself. Don't allow yourself to be infected by the hysteria and stress and allow yourself to enjoy this time in your own way!

Image: © Akshay Moon

Author: Désirée Steinmann

Désirée Steinmann is a certified Coach, DISC Profiler and Professional Master Trainer, working internationally with clients of all levels since over 10 years. With a strong focus on clarity - ownership - action, paired with authenticity and passion, Désirée encourages everyone to live strong and engage fully. She is also the author of the book “Reflections – bringing attention to your everyday life”.


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