‘Twas the Month Before Christmas...

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go…” You can’t deny it. That song is guaranteed to get even the crankiest people into the holiday spirit. But, is it the holiday songs on repeat that get you to really feel the arrival of the long-awaited Christmas season? Or could it be those pesky little festive jingles singing in our ears, “‘Tis the season to buy one and get one free! Fa la la la la…”? Maybe it’s that one house in everybody’s neighbourhood that transforms into the North Pole a month too early. Maybe it’s merely the scent of freshly baked shortbread cookies, wafting in from the warmth of the kitchen. What gives you the strongest sense of the holiday spirit? Or are you one of the many who suffer from the holiday headaches? Don’t get me wrong, Christmas can be filled with friends, family, feasts--and we mustn’t forget the wonderful presents--but at some time during the celebration we all reach a point where the Christmas lists and just slightly chaotic family events become a little too much to handle. Have no fear, even you can face Christmas with happiness and cheer! We have a couple tips and tricks to keep the festivities merry… and somewhat stress-free.

Ironically, something that is the most beneficial to combatting the holiday stress is making those lists we thought we despised. Believe it or not, planning out everything there is to organize, build, or do, will make you feel more in control. It gives us the sense that we are being productive and helpful, which never fails to give us that nice, warm feeling. Additionally, if you do decide to write those things out, you may realize that there was never that much to do in the first place.

Another strategy is geared towards in-the-moment anxiety. It’s called deep breathing. I’m sure we’ve all heard this one but don’t be too quick to judge. Sometimes it can be the simplest actions that help us the most. When you’re feeling overwhelmed and your brain is everywhere, think about the umbrella breathing. This is when you inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth, all while imaging an umbrella opening and closing at your torso. However cheesy it may sound, taking three deep breaths really does help you focus and clear your head.

A third relaxation tactic we occasionally enjoy, but don’t nearly get enough of, is going for a walk. Merely, getting out there and taking in your surroundings, breathing in everything the fresh air has to offer, can have a calming effect on our bodies. Everyone can get too restless or stuck in the cage of one’s own head. Sometimes, walking or running outside is a good way to tune in and rid yourself of the excess energy. Taking a walk while talking to a family member or friend could also relieve anxiety and allow you to relate with someone else’s feelings besides your own.

Hopefully this advice will help you manage the stressors of the holiday season and instead look forward to the many Christmas treats, family celebrations, presents and more. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Written by Caitlin A.D.

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