Dealing With Seasonal Stress
Do you look forward to the festive season, or do your stress levels rise at the mention of Christmas? Research shows that 51% of women and 35% of men find Christmas stressful, with meals to plan, gifts to buy, and expectations to meet. Whilst this time of year should be a joyful and peaceful one for all of us, there’s no denying we could use some serious help when it comes to dealing with seasonal stress. In this blog, you’ll learn how to slow down and cope with Christmas, with plenty of goodies to help you feel calm and centred – even when unexpected guests turn up!
Why It’s OK To Feel Stressed At Christmas
One of the most challenging aspects of dealing with Christmas stress can be the fact that we don’t feel like we’re ‘allowed’ to feel stressed at this time of year. If this sounds familiar, you can rest assured that you’re not alone. Many people find that financial pressures and difficult family relationships make Christmas a not-so-merry experience. This is also a season when everything seems to be moving at a million miles an hour, with everything leading up to one special day. If you feel stressed at this time of year, the first step is to acknowledge and accept how you feel. Use the Mind-Fullness journal to write down your thoughts and feelings about the festive season, and remember to get help or speak to someone you trust if the stress is becoming overwhelming.
5 Ways To Slow Down & Cope With Christmas
Take a breath
Rushing along the high street, wrapping gifts and attending all manner of social events means we can feel like there isn’t a spare moment in the day to pause and slow down. From a seasonal-living perspective however, this is the exact time of year we’re supposed to slow down. Winter is about hibernation, introspection and quietness, so it’s important to thread some of these aspects throughout your day, even if you can’t dedicate time to a ‘silent night’. One of the ways you can help your nervous system relax and cope better with Christmas (even whilst you’re rushing around) is to use your breath. A simple technique such as slowly breathing in and out for a count of four, or extending your exhale can work wonders for helping you feel like you’re slowing down, even if you’re not!
Use How To Breathe by Ashley Neese for 25 simple practices for calm, joy and resilience, and Pukka Herbs’ Breathe In Organic Tea with eucalyptus to clear any seasonal stuffiness.
Be Firm With Your Boundaries
Feel like there’s too much on your plate? (and I’m not talking about your Christmas dinner!). It’s the season of goodwill, but that doesn’t mean we need to say ‘yes’ to everything. Another aspect of living seasonally in Winter guides us to think about our boundaries; in Summer we may feel like saying ‘yes’ to everything that comes our way, but in Winter, saying ‘yes’ too much can quickly lead to resentment, exhaustion and even burnout.
If you feel like friends and family are asking too much of you – or perhaps you’re asking too much of yourself – step back and take a moment to recognise how you’re feeling. You can even use the School of Life Emotional Barometer cards to help label and describe your emotions. Then, acknowledge where you may need to put boundaries in place. Doing this can help protect your own wellbeing, as well as communicating to others how much they can expect to ask of you. Some places you could think about setting boundaries for yourself:
The amount of time you spend on screens: Can you have some screen-free time throughout the day so you’re not being bothered by texts and emails?
How many evenings you allocate to being busy: aim for at least 3 evenings a week that you get to relax, especially if you’re feeling frazzled.
How late you stay out at social occasions: No one needs to know why you’re leaving at 10pm!
How much you offer up of yourself on Christmas day: Can you delegate jobs like setting the table, cooking the sprouts or handing out drinks to someone else?
Don’t Forget Self-Care
Whilst you’re thinking about how to make everyone else happy at this time of year, who’s thinking about you? Threading moments of self-care into your day and your week is an essential way to let your body and mind know it’s safe to relax and calm down, even in the midst of Christmas chaos. Self-care (whatever it may look like to you) is also a vital way to show yourself love and respect, and can help you slow down and cope with this time of year a little easier. Our tip picks for Christmas self- care include:
Taking tips from Calm by The School of Life. This helpful handbook is a practical guide that equips readers with the mental tools needed to remain calm in the face of life’s anxieties and stresses.
Infusing your home with Ilapothecary’s Beat The Blues room spray. Especially if you experience the Winter Blues, this transformative and awarded blend can help brighten up your day with Clary Sage, Rose Geranium, Tuberose and Petitgrain. Keep it beside your computer, in the car, or the room you spend the most time in, and remember to spritz it especially after any heated discussions.
Treating yourself to the Parigotte Stress Relief Box. Offering all things zen, help yourself slow down with the Rewind Adaptogen Tea containing a delicious blend of adaptogens to help you relax and find peace of mind, Calm Aromatherapy Balm made from 100% organic ingredients and no nasties, Californian White Sage Smudge Stick, Palo Santo and Rose Quartz.
Prioritise Good Sleep
Sleep has a huge impact upon how we cope with life’s stresses. Sleep loss can trigger higher cortisol levels than normal, which means we may be closer to our ‘stress threshold’ even before we try to take on challenging situations throughout the day. Getting good quality sleep and preferably going to bed around 10pm can give the body as much change as possible to rest, regenerate and heal, due to the specific hormones that are released in the first few hours of sleep, mostly between 10pm and 2am. Care for your sleep by cultivating a relaxing bedtime routine using the Parigotte Sleep Box, including a Dreamers adaptogen tea, sleep aromatherapy balm, palo santo stick and amethyst crystal. You can also use the Luminous Dreams deck to empower you to uncover the meaning behind your dreams, with 60 cards teaching you how to connect with your subconscious.
Take Mini Meditation Moments
Whether you’re already a seasoned meditator, or you aren’t sure where to get started, a regular meditation practice can help you slow down and cope with Christmas. When the relatives arrive and there’s a never ending list of festive to-dos, it can seem like there’s no time for you – but this is when it’s vital to maintain (or start) meditating. Meditation doesn’t have to take hours; it doesn’t have to be elaborate; and there’s no such thing as a ‘perfect’ meditation. All you have to do is take a couple of moments to pause and just be. Doing this helps communicate to your body and mind that even in the midst of Christmas chaos, you can still relax and return to your centre. To set up a space at home for meditation, treat yourself to the Yogamatters Organic Cotton Mini Meditation Kit , or use the Aery Aromatherapy candle to quickly set the scene for a mini meditation. Close your eyes and focus on your breath – if you notice your mind wandering, simply bring your attention back to your breathing. You can also use a mantra such as ‘here, now’, or ‘I am peaceful’ to help you focus.
Use these tips to help you slow down and cope with Christmas, so you can feel peace and joy this holiday period.
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