It’s not long now until the big guy in the red suit arrives with all the presents! Woo hoo! Come at me, Santa.
Personally, I can’t wait to spend the day with my family and friends, eating, drinking, and laughing, as we always do. It’s a really special day.
But Christmas can be overwhelming for many, for several reasons. It is perfectly okay if you are not filled with Christmas joy! Some people live for this festive time of year, but others seriously dread it.
If you’re feeling a little anxious about what’s to come, hopefully some of my tips for getting through Christmas Day without a hitch (and feelings of guilt) will help.
- Wrap the presents before Christmas Eve.
There’s nothing more overwhelming that having to wrap a million presents the night before Christmas, when all you want to do is sit and relax with the family. Get organised.
- Keep your expectations realistic.
Sure, it’s Christmas Day, but the kids will still fight, Uncle Arthur will still say inappropriate things, and your sister will likely spill a glass of wine on your new couch. Try to stay calm and remind yourself that it’s just another day!
- Plan some quiet time.
Even if it’s just five minutes alone in the bedroom with a coffee while the kids play, it can really make a difference. Have a great escape plan, just in case. Sorry, I need to call my friend / sister / mother / dog!
- Ask for help.
If you’re hosting Christmas lunch or dinner, delegate tasks to loved ones and ask them to contribute food. No one minds bringing a plate, and it will really reduce the amount of work you have to do on a day that is should also be relaxing and special for you.
- Eat with your stomach, not your eyes!
Make good food choices (ie more protein and less carbs), but don’t beat yourself up if you treat yourself. The great thing about Christmas lunch is that there are generally healthy choices available – fresh seafood, turkey, salads, vegetables. Load up with the healthy stuff and then try a little bit of everything else. If you finish your meal and still feel hungry, put your fork down and wait 20 minutes for your stomach to catch up with your brain. But don’t feel like you have to go without. Enjoy the day! And if you do eat a little more than you had planned, remember you can start again tomorrow.
- Rethink your drinks.
Pre-plan your alcohol choices and think about how much you really want to drink. Swap gin and tonics for vodka, lime and soda, and have a glass of water in between each alcoholic drink. Also – pour your own so you can keep track of how many you have.
- Keep that movement momentum going.
If you’ve been exercising daily, find time to have a walk or a job – even if all you can fit in is a quick one. You’ll far less guilty when you have that second piece of Christmas pudding.
- Rest up!
Try and get plenty of sleep the night before. You’ll thank yourself for it on Christmas night.
- Choose who to celebrate with wisely.
Being forced to spend the day with family members who stress or depress you is just not on. Don’t be afraid to say no to an invitation, or, at the very least, plan a “pop in” rather than a “stay on”. If you are forced into seeing a relative you’re not on good terms with, for the sake of all your loved ones, try and park your differences for the day.
- Reach out for help.
If the overwhelm gets too much, reach out to a friend or loved one, or call Lifeline on 13 11 14. You’re never alone.
Most importantly, be kind to yourself. Whatever you have planned for Christmas Day, I hope you have a good one. Merry Christmas!