Whatever you may be experiencing this Christmas, there are some simple ways to reduce your stress levels so you can keep sane.
To make your Christmas a little more merry try these three top tips:
- Refocus with Pranayama (yoga breathing). When things get too much take a 2 minute break for humming bee breath (Brahmari). It's a simple breathing technique that extends your exhale, gives your mind a reset and helps you relax. Before you start, go and find a place where you won't be disturbed for a couple of minutes - it might sound funny, but I find sitting on the loo a great option, especially if you're in someone else's house. Sit comfortably, with your spine tall and shoulders relaxed. If it's comfortable to do so, close your eyes, and take a few natural breaths in and out your nose. Then on an exhale make a humming sound "mmmmmmmmmmmm" for as long as you can. Repeat the quiet inhale through your nose and exhale with hum for as long as it feels good. Traditionally you close off the ears with your thumbs and put your fingertips on your head, but that's just an option, and if it makes you feel more anxious to close your eyes then don't. As with all pranayama (yoga breathing), if you don't like it or your breathing becomes strained then stop what you're doing.
- Plan some fun activities with the family - having something interesting and physical to do, like a treasure hunt or game of lawn cricket, will increase happy hormones and (hopefully) reduce bickering. Plan lots of options in advance because shouting at the kids to "go away and play bloody cricket while I baste the turkey" is not going to make the day any less stressful. Kidspot has a number of Christmas games and activity suggestions that can be played by kids and adults. I personally like the Raindeer Dash that involves Vaseline and gum boots!!
- Spend less and reduce your waste. In 2014 just under $5 Billion was spent on food, drink and presents that eventually went to waste (Money Advice Service, Annual Christmas Survey 2014). You can save your money for what counts and reduce the stress that comes with your first credit card bill of the new year. Planning out what food and drinks you need, and sticking to a list when you go shopping (or shop online) will help reduce the amount that goes off before you have a chance to eat it. In terms of presents, how about suggesting a spend limit and/or a Kris Kringle (where everyone in the group draws the name out of a hat and only buys a present for that one person)?
Let us know how you go, and if you've got some other tried-and-tested Christmas stress-busters please post a comment below so we can try those too!