Surviving the Festive Season: Mindfulness Tips to Ease Christmas Stress

The holiday season, including Christmas, can be a joyful time, but it often comes with its own set of stressors. It is a time when many of us are thrown into a room with relatives that we rarely see for prolonged periods, and often this brings up a lot of old habits. No matter how old we are, as soon as we are in a room with our families, we suddenly feel like we are about 15 again! Not only this, but our routine is often completely thrown off; change is stressful!

Here are some mindfulness tips to help reduce stress during Christmas:

Regularly check in with the breath. Take a few moments to focus on your breath and notice how you are breathing. Are your breaths deep and slow or shallow and quick?, can you feel the breath in the abdomen or the chest?  If you are breathing shallowly into the chest then consciously slow and deepen the breath, slowly breathing down into the belly on the in breath and slowly out from the belly on the outbreath. Repeat several times. This simple practice can help calm your nervous system.

Be realistic. Don’t set your expectations too high, acknowledge and accept that perfection is not attainable and not everything is going to go as planned. The more you strive for perfection and control the less you will be able to appreciate and enjoy the festive period.  Something will go wrong, what matters is how you respond when it does!

Be kind. We might be good at the practical preparations of Christmas such as wrapping presents and buying far too much food – but what about emotional preparation? One practice that I find really helpful is to prepare for any big family or social gatherings with a five minute on-the-spot kindness meditation. Before any social interaction, take five minutes out (even if it just means escaping to the bathroom!) to just sit and reflect on the people you are about to spend time with and all of the things that you appreciate about them.

Negotiate time for yourself. All families have traditions and Christmas Day can often be so full of activity that we don’t realise how exhausted we are until we snap. Why not negotiate half an hour or so out? Make time for self-care activities. Whether it’s a short walk, a warm bath, or a few minutes of meditation, taking care of yourself is crucial during busy times. Don’t feel guilty for allowing yourself a little time to recharge – especially if you tell people in advance – then your family will know what to expect!

Practice gratitude. Take a moment each day to reflect on the things you are grateful for. Gratitude can shift your focus from stressors to positive aspects of your life. In the whirlwind of people and activity we often forget that there is so much to appreciate about Christmas. We can appreciate any gifts we have received – even the dodgy Christmas jumper! We can appreciate the food, and all of the effort of everyone involved in preparation.

Eat mindfully. Enjoy your holiday meals mindfully. Pay attention to the flavours, textures, and aromas of your food. Eat slowly and savour each bite. Appreciate where the food and drinks have come from and all of the people and processes involved in bringing them to your table. Pay attention to how you are feeling as you eat and drink, check in with the body. By listening to our body we can enjoy ourselves without overeating or drinking.

Set boundaries. Learn to say no when needed. Don’t overcommit yourself, and communicate your boundaries to others. Don’t try to multi-task, be assertive and ask for help when you need it.  You don’t have to do everything yourself. Delegate tasks and share responsibilities to lighten your load.

Be present. Instead of worrying about the past or future, focus on the present. Enjoy the festivities, the company of loved ones, and the small joys of the season. Consider taking a break from social media and emails. Disconnecting for a while can reduce information overload and give you a chance to be fully present.

Practice Compassion. Be compassionate towards yourself and others. Understand that everyone may be experiencing some level of stress during the holidays.

Remember, the holidays are about connecting with loved ones and finding joy in the moment. Incorporating these mindfulness tips to reduce Christmas stress, you can navigate the season with greater ease and enjoyment.

Mindful Impact provides effective strategies for integrating mindfulness into the workplace. For an overview of our services, please refer to our services brochure.

If you’re interested in a free consultation, we invite you to reach out to us through our contact page. We look forward to hearing from you!

Published On: December 15th, 2023 / Categories: mindfulness /

Subscribe To Receive The Latest From Mindful Impact

Receive the latest thoughts from the Mindful Impact team on increasing personal performance and staff wellbeing

* indicates required