Plan For A Stress Free Christmas

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Mental Health challenges seem to flare up from the first thought of Christmas, family, and the holiday season. What to do to help navigate the holiday season?!

If your family comes neatly packaged with fun, food, and gifts, this article may not be relatable. For those whose family resembles the Grizwolds with less merry and more added dysfunction, read on.

When polled, individuals with mental health challenges predominantly left dealing with the potential Christmas chaos until the day of. Do yourself a favor. Begin to prepare in advance. Your Mental Health will thank you.

First step: Take note of when your brain is getting anxious. Your toes will be tightly curled, and your hands will be balled into fists. Relax both, breathe, and acknowledge you’re stressed. 

Next step: Write down a list of your stresses. Notice your hands and feet again. Have you become more stressed or are you starting to relax as you deal with your stress?

To relieve stress, it’s time to plan your way through the anticipated Christmas chaos.

1)    For financial stress: Do your budget now, be brutally honest, and stick to your budget. Round the family up to do a Secret Santa for adults instead of overspending. If the number of kids outweighs the budget, do a Kids Secret Santa. Better to spend $50 - $100 on one good present than $10 per gift they may never look at again. 

2)    For emotional stress: Choose to see a professional now to work out a plan to deal with the day.  It’s essential to identify your triggers and why. Then you can plan a trigger-free day.

3)    Get your Boundaries planned now: Determine what you will and won’t say yes too. This predominately means you have to be willing to learn to say no. Practice saying no daily in anticipation. Practice makes perfect. 

4)    Keep your Self Care in place: Don’t give up your exercise routine or your time off for anyone or anything. Your body, brain, and heart will thank you, and you’ll be able to maintain your boundaries.

5)    If you think you’re going to be alone on Christmas day and prefer not to be alone check out your local town’s Facebook page for Christmas opportunities to volunteer or participate in local community events, or go on a holiday. 

Stress less options for Christmas day – take a book and read quietly, you can avoid a lot of questions from people you see once in a blue moon. Play with the kids instead of the adults. The kids will love you for it, and you’ll create memories for your old age. Take your Netflix login and gather everyone for a movie. 

Plan your escape and plan it now. Families are notorious for laying on the guilt trip thick. The first time you change plans is the hardest for both you and the family are used to you conforming to family expectations. The unspoken expectations are hard to break but doable by planning.

Happy planning!

Written by Linda