By Eva Duncanson
For someone who loves Christmas as much as I do (and I really, really do!) Christmas can be an incredibly difficult time. I get easily stressed and want things to be absolutely perfect. Over the years I have developed some tactics for keeping my cool among all the excitement and drama so here’s my top 5 tips for keeping it nice and calm this year.
1. Take regular time out Sometimes it helps to go and have a quick siesta or sit away from everyone for a bit and read a book. It really helps to give you a bit of breathing room and come back to the festivities with more enthusiasm. I’ve just finished the Christmassy read 'One Day in December’ by Josie Silver which put me in such a good mood I felt ready to tackle the season in good spirits.
2. Don’t drink too much I find that when I don’t hit the wine (or festive gin) I am more able to recognise the stress triggers and remove myself from the situation. It also means you can have a good giggle at everyone else’s drunken antics.
3. Be kind to others Tensions run high for everyone at Christmas so try and be a little bit more compassionate. Take some time to breathe, don’t engage in debates and definitely don’t talk about politics! You can call out your right-wing relatives another day but for now, the madness of Christmas it will only escalate it. If things do get heated it’s okay to walk away for a while.
4. Try not to be a perfectionist Every year I have set such high expectations for myself that I always end up cross at something. Maybe my food didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped, or I forgot to bring something. If you’re anything like me, you can try year after year to recreate the same Christmases as years gone by. I’ve realise that it’s best to just let past Christmases be part of your memories and to enjoy each year as it comes. With all the expectation and activity, it is easy to make a big deal out of something small. Sometimes it’s easier to let things go and realise that chaos is a part of the holiday.
5. Get outdoors Nothing calms me down more than going for walks with my dog. At Christmas I love getting my boots and feeling of frost (or snow!) crunching under my feet. Even just being outside helps to clear the mind and getting a bit of light exercise can help to counteract the big Christmas lunch! Wrap up warm and hit the streets. You get to look at all the Christmas trees and breathe in the nice cold air before going back to the drama. Trust me, you’ve earned the break.