To help you and your whanau get the holidays in one piece, here’s our best advice on how to have a stress-free family break.
Set realistic expectations
One of the best ways to minimise your holiday stress is to set realistic expectations. Remember:
It’s OK to say no
During December, there are always lots of social events. Especially this year, when many of us have gone months without spending quality time with our loved ones.
You might feel like you have to see as many people as possible, but it’s OK to say no. They’ll still be there after Christmas and you’ll probably have a more enjoyable time when you’re not feeling pressured.
Dealing with family stress
Traditional portrayals of a happy family on Christmas Day can be unrealistic. All families have their stresses and these don’t disappear just because it’s Christmas Day. Here are a few strategies you can use to help avoid family conflicts:
Set aside some downtime
Make sure you set aside quiet time to relax and do something you enjoy. This could be as simple as going for a walk or spending a night at home with your favourite book or Netflix series.
On Christmas Day, half an hour at home in between events with your feet up and a cup of tea can make all the difference to your stress levels.
Make a plan… and be flexible when it doesn’t work!
Plan ahead to ensure you can fit in everything you need to. Set aside certain times for shopping, food prep, friends, school celebrations etc.
And once you’ve got your plan in place, keep in mind that unexpected events can (and often will) happen. Try your best to be adaptable. And most importantly, don't be afraid to ask for help. Get other family members to pitch in and share the load to get your to do list ticked off.
Use these tips to minimise your Christmas stress...
… and have a fun and enjoyable festive break. 2021 has been a long hard year for all of us and we all deserve time to rest and recharge.
And finally, if you’re finding it hard to cope over the holidays, it can often help to talk to someone who is not so closely involved. In New Zealand, there are a wealth of online resources and telephone support options, some of which are available 24/7.
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