10 Tips for a Relaxing & Easy Christmas

Every year advertisements pressure us to keep up with the latest trends and “must haves” to top last year’s Christmas, leading us to fork out unnecessary amounts of money.
When we think of all the food, gifts, travel and decorations we buy, it’s no wonder a lot of us dread the holiday season. So how do we overcome the Xmas blues?

1. Buy less presents

Instead of purchasing a gift for every member in your family and their kids (and don’t forget their pets)… Why not host a Secret Santa this year? You can make it super fun, add a spending limit and it’s a chance to give and receive something a little more meaningful as you have to really think about it!

2. Don’t buy it, make it!

When we give something handmade it tends to be appreciated a lot more! Why not make your friend their favourite dessert or turn a boring photo frame or album into something pretty by decorating it yourself. It will save you lots of money and it’ll make you feel good!

3. Browse your options

With online shopping at the tips of our fingers, you can browse thousands of shops comparing prices and deals. A lot of insurance companies or banks also offer cheaper discounts. You could purchase some discounted movie tickets and give an experience as a present this year. This also saves the stress of busy shopping centres and not being able to find anything decent at a reasonable price.

4. Learn to say “No”

Don’t overdo yourself this year. It’s okay if you miss a couple of Christmas parties or outings as friends, family and work can pressure you to be a part of all of them. Make some plans of your own that work for you and your budget and others should understand if you can’t be there with them this Christmas. Being assertive and saying ‘no’ in a friendly matter will take a lot of stress off your back. You could even offer to visit them in the new year or another suitable time. Making too much commitment causes too much stress and little enjoyment.

5. Do some relaxing activities

Remember to take time out for yourself to enjoy the holiday break and to stay present in the moment as the stress is not worthwhile if it starts to affect your mental health. A few ideas could include meditating at least once a day, going for long walks, reading, listening to music, baking or being creative. Remind yourself of what you are thankful for, being consciously grateful will bring you back down to Earth and will remind you of what truly matters.

6. Your breath controls your mind

When you feel yourself overthinking, becoming agitated or upset, stop what you’re doing and focus on your thoughts and breath. Forgive your thoughts without judgement and know that unnecessary emotions won’t help you to fix your problem. Remember to think as positive as you can about any situation. Breathe deeply through your nose for 6 seconds, hold for 2 and then exhale for another 6 through the mouth. Repeat this as many times as necessary until you feel yourself come back to a relaxed state of mind. This will help you to start thinking more clearer while reducing your stress.

7. You can still have fun sober!

By switching the alcohol to a non-alcoholic/sugary beverage, you will feel and look a lot better. After all of that food, the last thing we all want is to feel bloated and sickly the next day. Why not try a hot herbal tea or a decaf coffee to digest the food. For the other times, stick to drinking as much water as possible to hydrate you throughout the day leaving you more energised and feeling great the next morning. Drinking lots of water will help detox your body from the sugary food, you will stay awake and your mood will be positively enhanced (not to mention you are saving yourself loads of calories!) If you hate drinking water, try coconut water or put some lemon/lime in your glass. Feeling good on your inside tastes better than any beer and you will be so proud of yourself that you don’t have to work as hard on your fitness in the new year.

8. Love your family and friends

No one’s family is perfect or “normal”. Every single family clashes and what better way to bring it out than during Christmas time. Don’t bring yourself to become a part of anything you just don’t need or want to deal with on your relaxing break. Show your love and support where you can, but remember that you come first and no one is allowed to drain your positive energy. Accept those around you for who they are and focus on what you love about them and what you are grateful for rather than their faults. Remember the positive memories you share, and put aside petty differences. They won’t be around forever, so it’s really important to cherish the present moment. You will notice your positive mindset and calm nature will start to rub off on everyone else too.

9. Be prepared well in advance

Avoid rushing around the supermarket and shops in those last days to sort everything out when you could be focusing all of your attention on finalising your work projects before the break or arranging your family day outs. A lot of Christmas food and desserts can be made well in advance and frozen to store away. Have your gifts all wrapped and ready to go. This way, you’ll be able to find anything or anyone you’ve missed a lot easier. If you are going away for Christmas, make sure you have budgeted in advance, put aside everything you will be taking but not needing now and sort out your flights and accommodation before the prices sky rocket. This way, the whole family is on the same page about what’s happening and you have all the time in the world to sort out your own work/life priorities before the end of year.

10. Reflect and make new goals

Write down every single thought in your head. You will notice that when you start to write, you realise there is so much more hidden in your mind than your conscious thoughts at any present moment. Go deep into reflecting on your year, what you accomplished, what you learnt and what you are grateful for. You will feel more grounded and you will get to know yourself a bit better. Avoid writing anything negative, accept that you aren’t superman and a few things may have slid this year but focus on how you tried your best and you can try again next year.
Set some clear goals and then outline as many steps it will take to overcome those blocks. Your new year will start on a high by being organised and positive and will leave you feeling amazing about yourself. Keep your goals by your side until you have achieved them. Look back at the end of the year and see how far you’ve come!


ashley gilmour

If over the break you find yourself or a loved one experiencing a mental health crisis, or would like to chat to someone about mental health struggles, the following support lines are
open 24hrs, 7 Days:

Acute Care Team: 1300 642 255
LifeLine: 13 11 14
BeyondBlue: 1300 22 4636
Men’s Line: 1300 78 99 78

In an emergency, call ambulance on 000 or attend to your local hospital emergency department – they have mental health teams who provide assessment and brief intervention.