Organising and preparing a meal for family and friends, balancing the relationships of those family members present and creating some fun activities can be enjoyable, but also tiring and stressful at the same time.

Some tips to help you create a low stress Christmas Day may include:

  • Get a great sleep on Christmas Eve so you start your day alive.
  • When you wake on Christmas morning, lie in bed for an extra five minutes or a little longer, close your eyes and visualise your perfect Christmas Day. Remember to see great things; smell the food; taste all the Christmas ‘goodies’; hear the joy, fun and laughter; touch and hug your family and friends. End your visualisation with a short meditation of gratitude or a prayer.
  • If you are cooking lunch at home, have various family members and friends each bring a part of the meal ready to serve. You don’t need to do everything yourself.
  • Organise a day or two prior to make the day no alcohol or extremely low alcohol. Touchy relationships between family members who really don’t want to pass the time of day with another family member can escalate as the alcohol consumption rises.
  • Set a code of conduct… no politics, no other highly charged topics that ‘ramp people up’. If it’s not positive, don’t say it.
  • Make sure everyone drinks loads of water.
  • Write a Christmas Day order of events plan. For example, all arrive at 11.30am, 12 noon eat, 2pm open gifts, 4pm games outside. If there are young children, have a parent roster to supervise the earlier play activities for the kids.
  • Book well in advance if you plan to have lunch at a restaurant. Some restaurants may be fully booked for months before Christmas, so don’t wait till the last minute.
  • As stress, anxiety and depression are common at Christmas time, reassure yourself and others that these feelings can be normal.

If you feel stress building up, step aside for a few moments and practice some stress reduction strategies and relaxation techniques. Easy things to do are deep breathing in and out to the count of 6, stepping aside for a few moments to a quieter spot to close your eyes and visualise again how you started your day visualising your perfect Christmas Day.

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