Survival Tips for Christmas Stress

Lyn Stephenson (a stress management specialist who works with workplace teams to reduce stress and conflict and improve communication) shares tips for reducing stress at Christmas:

I’m thinking how impossible it is to shop at this time of year without hearing Christmas jingles in every store.  It’s all about being merry, happy and bright…right?  Well, if the only thought that Christmas conjures up for you is stress, stress and more stress, here are some good tips for surviving:
1. Let go of expectations
There is no such thing as the perfect Christmas; no matter how much social media would have you believe is possible with a bit of effort on your behalf. So if you’re feeling the pressure to ‘get it right’ by finding the right gift or cooking the perfect Christmas meal, try to let go of those expectations.  When your focus is on getting everything ‘perfect’ it’s hard to relax and have fun and you’re setting yourself up for stress.
2. Don’t lose your sense of humour
We’ve all got a difficult relative or workmate or two.  When getting together with colleagues, friends and family, stay away from topics you know will lead to heated discussions. Don’t react, but rather think about how you can contribute to making the situation harmonious. If you have to spend time with VDP’s (very draining people) smile and reward yourself later with an extra chocolate (or treat of your choice).
3. Go for a walk
If you are feeling pressured and starting to let things get to you – get out in to the fresh air by yourself. Even a short walk will help you let go of tension, clear your head and give you some distance.  Also you need the exercise if you are going to be eating that extra chocolate!
4. Remember to breathe

Take a few minutes, more if you can, sit quietly and take some deep relaxing breaths.  The more time you take out of the business around you, creating short spaces to just be still and breathe, the more relaxed you will feel and better equipped to cope with the silly season. Remember the best gift you can give to those around you, is a less stressed you.

You can follow Lyn on Facebook for more tips and inspiration for managing stress.