Happy Well Being Life: The key to a stress-free Christmas

Columnist Caroline S. Asante
Columnist Caroline S. Asante

Velvet’s contributing wellbeing editor Caroline S. Asante shares five tips on how to embrace tranquillity and have a stress-free Christmas

As the festive season approaches, the air is filled with excitement and joy.

However, for many, the thought of Christmas brings with it a wave of stress and anxiety. The pressure to purchase and to create the perfect celebration often overshadows the true spirit of the holidays. But fear not, as there are ways to have a stress-free Christmas and truly savour those magical moments with loved ones. Here’s how:

Simplify Your Traditions

One of the main sources of holiday stress is the attempt to uphold elaborate traditions. While traditions are essential, they should not become a burden. Instead of trying to do it all, focus on the traditions that hold the most meaning for your family. Whether it’s baking cookies together, watching a favourite holiday movie, or volunteering at a local charity, choose activities that promote togetherness and joy.

Plan Ahead

Crafting a realistic budget is a practice I've found to be invaluable. Creating a detailed list of gifts to purchase is another helpful step, and nowadays, shopping online can be a lifesaver, if you are a last-minute shopper. When it comes to the holiday meals, planning ahead is essential; you might even want to prepare some dishes in advance and keep them in the freezer for a stress-free celebration. Additionally, share the load and involve everyone who is going to eat, by delegating tasks. This shared effort not only lightens your load but also fosters a sense of unity and collaboration among your loved ones, making the holiday season more enjoyable for everyone.

Practice Mindfulness and Self-Care

Amidst the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it's crucial to take time for yourself. As I’ve mentioned before in this column, incorporating mindfulness practices into your daily routine, such as meditation or yoga, will help you stay grounded and calm. Remember to get enough sleep, eat healthily, and stay hydrated - especially with increased alcohol consumption. Allocate time for activities that bring you joy and relaxation. Make walking in nature a daily priority, no matter the weather. By prioritising self-care, you'll be better equipped to handle the challenges that may arise during the holidays.

Picture Aaron Burden (Unsplash)
Picture Aaron Burden (Unsplash)

Embrace the Spirit of Giving

Christmas is a time of giving, and there's no better way to experience the true essence of the holidays than by giving back to others. You could volunteer at a local shelter, donate to a charity, or organise a toy drive. Clearing out clothes, old toys and items you don’t need is a form of giving back when you donate to a charity. Acts of kindness not only make a positive impact on others but most importantly, they provide you with a sense of fulfilment and purpose.

Emphasise Quality Time Over Material Gifts

We can all agree that the Christmas holidays tend to be dominated by consumerism. Yet, in my experience, the most precious and enduring memories often sprout from those heartfelt moments spent with our dear ones. Instead of getting bogged down in the quest for the ‘perfect’ presents, I encourage you to shift your focus towards shared experiences and quality time. Think about planning activities like cosy game nights (my family has recently got into this and it’s so much fun), heart-warming storytelling sessions, or creative crafting get-togethers that can involve everyone. These are the moments that knit us closer, fill our hearts with laughter, and, wonderfully, ease the stress that sometimes comes with gift-giving.

You can do it! Make it a priority to have a stress-free Christmas this year. It is not about achieving perfection - that’s a myth that needs to leave our culture - but rather getting back to basics, embracing the simple things in life and finding joy knowing you are enough as you are. Truly, read that again!

Remember, the true magic of Christmas lies in the love and togetherness shared with family and friends, and /or furry companions. And by focusing on these aspects, you can truly have a stress-free and joyous holiday celebration.

I want to personally wish each and every one of you a very joyous and happy holiday season from me. Thank you for all your support this year, lovely emails and comments sent to me and see you in 2024 with some exciting plans ahead!

Caroline S. Asante is an award-winning former BBC radio broadcaster-turned-writer, author, and producer. She is founder of Happy Well Being Life, an online platform dedicated to helping individuals prioritise their holistic health and improve their emotional, mental, and spiritual wellbeing. Find out more at happywellbeinglife.com

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