stressed lady at Christmas surrounded by presents

How to have a stress-free December

December can feel like a very pressurised month. The deadline of Christmas is approaching fast, and there’s so much to do, plan and organise. Add to that the financial pressures of Christmas time, on top of all the usual bills to pay. It’s time to plan a stress-free December.

For parents, the month is full of school events either for the children, parents or both.

Work can come with extra pressure too, with projects to be completed before the end of the year, planning ahead for time off over Christmas, and in some industries, such as retail, it’s the busiest time of the year.

So how do you cope with the pressure and manage the stress, without exhausting yourself?

Here are some tips for a stress-free (or at least, less stressful) December.

Don’t put so much pressure on yourself

Easy to say when the pressure is all around, but remember you’re only one person, there’s only so much you can do. Be realistic in what you can achieve, with your time and energy, and financially too.  There are very few things that are really worth getting into unmanageable debt for, or exhausting yourself to the point of burnout.

Be okay with saying ‘no

It can sometimes feel difficult to say no to extra demands, especially from people you care about, or from work. But setting clear boundaries and sticking to them is essential for your mental health and physical wellbeing. So practice saying ‘no’ without guilt. Remember you aren’t responsible for everyone else.

Don’t get drawn into the hype

Marketing and advertising is specifically created to tap into our fears and desires. Before you get swept away in the hype of sales, limited availability offers, and pressure to buy or do more, take a step back.

Walk away before buying. Take photos of things on your phone to remember for later. The next day if you look at the photo and still want to buy, then go ahead. Leave things in an online shopping basket overnight and review it the next day.

Practice simple stress-busting techniques

Get into the habit of practising simple stress management strategies such as mindfulness, or some of the strategies in this article

Sometimes just pausing or going for a short walk can make a huge difference to how you feel.

Remember what’s really important to you

When it all feels too much, stop and remember what’s really important to you. Work may be busy and stressful, but maybe it’s enabling you to create financial security for your family, or give you the lifestyle you enjoy.

If trying to be everywhere for your children is putting on the pressure, remember how much the time together means to you and to them.

Finally, remember that this time will pass, things will settle down. Setting boundaries around your time and energy, and keeping within your limits financially will help you to have a better experience over the Christmas break and into the new year.

If things become too much, don’t hesitate to get the help and support you need, whether that’s from your friends and family, or from professionals who can help you to cope and manage your wellbeing.