Tips for Less Christmas Stress in 2020

stress free christmas

Christmas is different this year.

We’re in the middle of the holiday season. Yay! We are also in the middle of a pandemic. Boo!

Reason would dictate that we do everything possible to reduce stress… Not create, endure or prolong it. That includes celebrating the holidays a little differently this year.
I have a few tips:
Get enough restful rest. There’s rest, where you just lay in bed or lay around a lot during the day and then there’s restful rest where you sleep well, where you are present and intentional in your willingness to relax.

Have you ever tried sleeping with a sleeping mask? I recently did for the first time and I am amazed at how much better I sleep with that thing on than with it off. The Christmas lights shine into my bedroom window no matter how hard I try to keep the light out so that’s probably part of the problem. It is definitely what prompted me to try the mask. What I discovered was that when the mask is on I literally fall asleep almost instantly but when the mask is off I can lay there for hours in a semi sleep… You know the kind where you go over the what if’s and to do lists and all manner of other annoying anxiety provoking thoughts? Sleeping mask – Try it!

Do as much ahead of time as you can. Remember my tips for making Thanksgiving dinner by starting three or four days early. Same thing here. Definitely doing that again with Christmas dinner. But this time I’m also talking about the presents. Start early. It’s less painful economically, it prevents that last minute panic buying where you spend way too much because everybody’s out of everything, and finally it gives you the opportunity to wrap the presents, a few at a time, say instead of that one backbreaking up-all-night session that you do the night before everybody’s coming to the house.  The one that makes your back ache for a few days.

This is the first time in my life I have ever started shopping for Christmas presents before December. It is December 15th and all the presents are purchased and wrapped and under the 🌲. This is just another one of those Covid blessings if you will. Heaven knows I have more time than I’ve ever had before because of the restrictions placed upon all of us. But it’s still amazing to me that it never occurred to me to do this before. I actively resisted the temptation for some perverse reason. I saw other people buying their Christmas gifts starting in the summer and thought that it was nuts. How OCD can you get l wondered.

I have a whole new perspective this year. It’s making a lot more sense to me now to start early and spread the gift buying out over the season. I truly enjoy seeing how beautiful the presents look under the tree and anticipating how happy they will make my loved ones.

Resist the temptation to go whole hog. You know exactly what I’m talking about, if you have a choice between making it harder or making it easier, for heaven’s sake, make it easier! That advice can apply to just about anything. Maybe you’re like me and you love spending as much time as possible with your grandchildren and there’s the opportunity over the holidays to see them more. That’s amazing! And you should do it… Within reason. If you still have a business to run, or others who depend upon you, keep it real. Another example might be whether you have a live tree or not. Artificial trees can look every bit as beautiful as live trees and they are a lot less expensive, and a lot easier to get out of the box and put together then traipsing to a tree farm and lugging a live one home. On the other hand, if it gives you joy to have a live tree then go for it!

In general, the idea is to be intentional in whatever it is you are doing to celebrate the season. To be present, to enjoy the experience by truly being one with it. What we want to avoid is doing things because we’ve always done them that way, or doing things out of a sense of obligation. Don’t misunderstand me, if doing it a certain way because it is a family or friendly tradition and it gives you peace, then do it that way. But if you’re only doing it a certain way because you’ve always done it that way or because you think you’re obligated to do it that way to make others happy then give yourself a break and rethink it. Only you can take care of you.

From all of us here at Norton wellness, bless you and yours! Have a happy healthy holiday!

Does someone you love suffer from an eating disorder? 

Dr. Renae Norton specializes in the treatment of eating disorders. Located in Cincinnati, Ohio. Call 513-205-6543 to schedule an appointment or fill out our online contact form for someone to call you to discuss your concerns. Tele-therapy sessions available. Individual and family sessions also available.

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Materials contained on this site are made available solely for educational purposes and as part of an effort to raise general awareness of the psychological treatments available to individuals with health issues. These materials are not intended to be, and are not a substitute for, direct professional medical or psychological care based on your individual condition and circumstances.  Dr. J. Renae Norton does not diagnose or treat medical conditions. While this site may contain descriptions of pharmacological, psychiatric and psychological treatments, such descriptions and any related materials should not be used to diagnose or treat a mental health problem without consulting a qualified mental health care provider.  You are advised to consult your medical health provider about your personal questions or concerns.