I say this every year but I cannot believe we are fast approaching the season of Mariah Carey and Michael Buble! Can this year please slow down just a tiny bit?
As we all know, Christmas can be “the most wonderful time of the year” but the truth is that, for some, this time can also be the most stressful. According to YouGov, nearly half (48%) of parents in Britain experience heightened amounts of stress in the lead up to Christmas. In particular, those who have children are likely to feel stress even more at this time of the year.
If you are familiar with any of my previous blogs you will know that the overall wellbeing of mothers is something that I am passionate about. Being the best versions of ourselves not only benefits us but also our children and those around us. As such, finding solutions to stressful situations in this whirlwind we call parenthood is key.
So back to stress and Christmas - whilst we may not be able to eliminate the festive stress completely, there are a few things that can help us manage our stress levels in the lead up to Christmas.
Financial stress is a big one and it’s not hard to see why. Buying presents, decorating your home, keeping your children entertained, paying for childcare and the cost of festive activities can be overwhelming. Add the cost-of-living crisis to this list and it’s enough to raise the anxiety levels of even the calmest of souls.
Sure, matching personalised family pyjamas are cute but one thing I have said to myself this year is that if I can’t afford it, I am simply not buying it. One of the best things we can do to work out what we can afford is to budget, budget, budget! I am not a financial advisor, but I do know that Christmas can become very expensive, very quickly. Having a budget and, more importantly, sticking to it will help you to feel more in control or your finances and stress levels. Also starting your Christmas shopping early to avoid the urge of “crisis buying” can also be beneficial.
Now, if there’s one thing I love, it’s creating experiences with my son on a budget. I am the biggest fan of finding low-cost/free Christmas related activities for the family to take part in. From Christmas Carols to free Santa grottos, there’s something out there for everyone. If you do not know where to start, then Dear Black Mum and I will be having a Christmas Tree Crawl on the 3rd December in Central London for mums and children. If you want to take part in a meaningful Christmas experience, that does not break the bank, we would love to see you there.
Christmas is also stressful for other reasons. Maybe you are a single parent and the festive period is a lonely time of the year or you may be dealing with grief. If so, surrounding yourself with family and friends is a great way to manage feelings of stress associated with these events. And if you are reading this thinking that socialising with others is the last thing you need right now, well it’s often a sign that this is the time where you should not be isolating yourself.
I probably sound like a broken record by now, but please do remember to get outside during the winter months. Natural sunlight is a natural stress reliever and the benefits of daily walks can be found here.
Finally, do not forget the power of routine. Having a simple routine at morning and night has been a game changer for me – particularly in the run up to Christmas where the days all seem to roll into one. It can be quite difficult to stick to when children rule our world but if you can manage to control small chunks of your day, you’re less likely to feel stressed. If you do not have a routine in place, why not start with a simple one in the morning?
Wishing you all an enjoyable and peaceful Christmas period!