‘That time of year again’ looms like the unwelcome, lumbering beast it is. It’s a time to spend catching up with close friends and to give and receive fantastic gifts, but it’s also a time to spend stressed over every small detail in your day, and a time when strained family relationships can bubble to the surface. Counteract this with our five tips for Christmas relaxation.
It’s a no-brainer, but just as you should never leave your Christmas shopping trips until the last week before Christmas, you should plan ahead more generally for how you’ll be using your time over the Christmas period. Setting aside evenings and maybe even entire days for relaxing and actually enjoying Christmas is essential. With the period all planned out, you’ll be able to manage stress and avoid any nasty last minute surprises that send your blood pressure soaring.
Can the Christmas Music
Whilst we wouldn’t recommend being the ogre who bans Christmas music from the home, you have to set appropriate ground rules for everyone’s sanity. Even if you like Christmas tunes like Slade’s ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’, Wham’s ‘Last Christmas’ and Paul McCartney’s ‘Wonderful Christmas Time’ (and what’s wrong with you?), any song repeated too many times can become stressful.
Whilst there’s obviously an exception for Christmas Carols, popular Christmas songs really don’t help with stress. They’re upbeat and lively, but in no way do they inspire people to stay positive. They’re oppressive, horrible tunes that you ought to retreat from at the nearest opportunity – play the music that you like to play all year round, and crack out the soften songs for when you want a quieter moment.
Keep in Touch
Christmas is a time for family and friends, but we can’t see everyone. Whilst you should never feel obliged to phone everyone you know at Christmas, there is always someone who it would be uplifting to get back in contact with. Phone calls are important, but in addition to being one of the few times for sending cards, letter writing is popular in the holiday season. It’s traditional and a great way of keeping in touch. Taking time to pen a good letter can be more therapeutic than you’d imagine: a Christmas letter especially allows you to look back on the year and think about the triumphs and less-than-triumphs.
Have Time Away
Sorry to say it, but the biggest source of stress at Christmas isn’t always the event itself, but the family that is celebrating it with you. Everyone
should have the option to, at some point, leave the family circle for a little peace and quiet. Take a long walk, go to the shops watch a movie alone for a little while. Better still, take an entire day off to do something you like. Those buying gifts would do well to buy things that aid relaxation for their loved ones: that may mean buying a book they’d really like to read with a cup of tea, or it could mean buying Christmas spa vouchers. Whatever you do, don’t stay inside with screaming kids, stern grandparents or thoughtless in-laws for every hour of the holiday period. That just isn’t any fun!
Play To Christmas’ Strengths
It’s important to remember that Christmas isn’t all stress and grating pop songs. Evenings at Christmas time particularly involve things that are designed to relax the mind. Keeping the lighting low and lighting a few candles is a great technique year round: Christmas tree lights and festive candles provide this mood as part of the Christmas season. The atmosphere calms down anyone you’re sharing your home with too! Burn some incense, put on some Christmas carols and curl up in front of a log fire (any one of these things will suffice). Oh, and there’s comfort food too, but don’t go mad!
Steph Wood looks forward to the coming season with a sense of trepidation, whilst writing content for Sanctuary Spa, who will be operating Christmas Spa Days in London.