Once again, Christmas has come upon us almost like magic, and many of us feel unprepared already despite knowing of its return every 12 months. Christmas jingle, Christmas smell, Christmas lights – Christmas overload! To a lot of people this season of joy, spells stress better than anything else. Buying presents last minute, having assignments being due, being not ready to seeing the entire family again – trust me we all have been there!
What we need is a strategic, some kind of “master plan” to face the holiday of holidays. For once, it might help to step up our game. Let’s try to start with the shopping already- make a list, check it twice and of you go. Just a note on the side, don’t go into the city on the weekend if you are not a fan of busy shopping centres and the final present rush. If going shopping under the week still sounds like too much stress, just start ordering on various websites that have everything anyway. No need of getting out of bed and you are still able to buy all the presents you need.
Something that screams stress even louder then presents that are not been bought yet, are assignments that are about to be due. If your turn it in date is either before Christmas Day or in the New Year, it has still a high tendency of ruining your Christmas spirit as you panic about meeting deadlines. What are our lecturers thinking? Did they ever hear of the word timing? The only chance that you have in battling this, is that you are stopping your Netflix 6 season TV show which you are currently watching, physically getting out of the bed and moving your tired body to the library or your desk. Getting caught up in the leisure of Christmas is great but don’t slip behind on your work.
And finally the big issue – family. It might worry you to see all these people again. Having to laugh at the cheesy jokes from this far related uncle of yours, making small talk with relatives you haven’t seen since last Christmas and pretending to be happy about the ugliest pair of socks you ever seen may increase your stress barometer. But hey, didn’t we all learn to compensate?! Grab the box of Christmas cookies and the red wine, find some inner courage and then maybe the small talk won’t be as stiff anymore and rather funny family anecdotes will bring a smile to everyone’s face. The corny jokes might end up being so bad that they actually become funny and well socks are just socks. Your shoes will very well hide them.
Don’t pressure yourself to have the perfect, blissful Christmas – it doesn’t exist. But a level of comfort will come eventually without you pushing it. Another way to stress out a little less is actually giving into the Christmas cheer. Embrace it! Go look at the lights, fetch some hot chocolate, enjoy a night watching “Love Actually“, listen to Mariah Carey on full volume. Just do whatever brings cheer to you!
When all the gifts got opened, the roast has been burnt but devoured and all the candles burned down; that it is already over and so is the stress. And all that is left is a memory of another Christmas and hopefully some cookies in the jar! It’s all about finding a balance of productivity, inner calm and making the most of a small break from work.
By Laura Vogel
4th December 2017