Monday, 24 December 2012 09:57

Our Festive De-Stress Guide

Written by Bioharmony
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With just a few hours to go before Christmas, most of us are already whipped into a Festive Season frenzy. Merry making usually involves lots of eating and drinking, but also an overdose of family time. With all the shopping, wrapping, cooking, entertaining, bonding and partying it’s easy to forget to sometimes take some time to ourselves to de-stress.

A little planning goes a long way, so here are a few tips to make this time of year a little less stressful:

Make a list, check it twice (like Santa Clause)

  • Create a budget to ensure you don’t overspend this year. Calculate how much you can spend during this period, remembering to include expenses such as restaurant and drinks bills, presents, groceries, etc.
  • Before heading out to the buy Christmas presents, create a list of names with present ideas. Cross out the names as you buy the lists. (You making some of the gifts too – see some of our tips towards the end of this article.)
  • If your Christmas list is too long (and too expensive), consider creative ways of giving gifts. Many bigger families draw names from a hat and instead of buying for everyone, they buy for the person whose name they drew. Alternatively, you can also do a Secret Santa, where each person buys a generic gift and then on Christmas everyone takes a turn choosing a gift.
  • Where possible, avoid actually going to the shops and rather buy online.

Create a schedule… for you

  • On Christmas Eve, you’re going to Aunty Teresa’s house for dinner; Christmas Day will be spent with your husband’s side of the family at his cousin Gertrude’s home; on Boxing Day you’re having the family around to your place; there’s that braai at your friend Mickey’s place just before New Year’s and then of course there’s the New Year’s Eve party at that swanky restaurant in town. It’s exhausting just remembering all of it!

This Festive Season, be sure to schedule time for positive, relaxing activities that are focused on you and your needs. It might sound silly, but schedule some time for a longer lie in or a nap, take a long walk on your own, go for a manicure or a pedicure, or even take the time to plan one full day of healthy eating.

Dealing with family

  • Everything doesn’t have to be perfect – so don’t expect miracles. If you and a certain family member generally don’t get along, Christmas Day (or any other special occasion) won’t change anything.
  • Try to avoid topics that you know will cause disagreements.
  • Remember that the Festive Season is not a good time to discuss difficult issues. Set it aside for another time.
  • Learn to say no. You don’t have to attend every family event or activity.
  • Surround yourself with people who love you and accept you for who you are. This is not always your immediate family, it is someone or a group of people who add positivity and love to your life.

Get creative

Creativity helps to relieve stress. The creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps to resolve conflicts and problems, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self-awareness, and achieve insight. (

Below are a few creative projects to try over the next period:

Most importantly, look after yourselves and your loved ones this festive season. Remember, that sometimes this time of year truly can be perfectly imperfect.

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