The holidays can be a joyful, vibrant season full of cheer and celebration - but for some it's anything but. Christmas can cause worry, stress and anxiety, with Samaritans reporting a huge increase in phone calls during the festive period. Last year, YouGov found that 26% of British people felt stressed or very stressed at Christmas. ITV News reported that in 2022 many families were feeling “more stressed than excited” due to the cost of living crisis. In order to reduce your Christmas stress, think RUDOLPH!
Use our RUDOLPH method to learn how to have a stress-free Christmas in 2022
There are ways to reduce your Christmas stress and make the festive season a joyous one. In this blog we will look at how to reduce your Christmas stress by using the power of Rudolph. No, not Santa’s reindeer - but the acronym RUDOLPH: Relationships, Unconditional kindness, Delegate and share, Organise, Limits, (let go of) Perfection and Happiness. So, let’s get started!
1) Relationships: focus on harmony
Relationships! It’s the time of year that brings everybody together, but with family gatherings can come disagreements. Unfortunately, the Christmas family argument is a centuries-old tradition, so it is worth accepting that there may be squabbles, whether it’s over what to watch on telly or who drank the last of the sherry! Try to avoid causes of conflict and do your best to empathise with another person’s point of view, even if you disagree. Steer clear of conversations that create tension, like politics or the time Aunt Sally forgot to buy Nan a present in 1992!
2) Unconditional kindness: be generous and considerate to others
Unconditional kindness! Help spread the Christmas cheer; random acts of kindness will not only bring joy to others but will also make you feel good. In fact, research has proven that being kind boosts happiness and life satisfaction so try to be grateful and happy, even if you get naff presents!
3) Delegate and share: don’t try and do everything yourself
Delegate and share! Don’t try and do everything yourself! Feeling like you’ve got 101 jobs to do can be extremely stressful, so give everyone something to do.
Remember that sharing is caring, don’t eat the whole tub of Quality Streets to yourself! Share the gift experience; things that you receive may also interest others. Remind the children to “let others have a go”. Sharing toys and playing games is a great way of bringing people together.
4) Organise: prepare for the run-up to Christmas and the day itself
Organise! Christmas can be a daunting prospect, with endless things to do. Preparation is the key to reducing anxiety. Buy presents and wrap them in advance. To avoid panic on the big day, create a schedule, for example: what time family will be arriving and when the food needs to be cooked etc.
Structuring the day slightly will help you feel more in control and at ease with the overall running of the day! Plan an escape if things get too much, such as taking the dog for a walk. Christmas can be rather overwhelming, so take five minutes to get some fresh air and compose yourself!
5) Limits: don’t go overboard
Limits! Unlike Father Christmas, there is only so much you can do! It is easy to get carried away, buying too many presents, or, going over the top with the decorations, so it’s important to know when to stop. This is especially important during the cost of living crisis, as 1 in 5 households are expected to struggle with serious debt this Christmas. Remember, if the cost of living crisis is acutely impacting you, you may be eligible for support through the government’s Help for Households scheme.
Also avoid the temptation to do or buy more, don’t take laptops, tablets or other devices that enable you to internet shop, to bed, and make sure to sleep. Create a checklist of things that need to be done, and stick to it. Allow time for yourself to enjoy the day, you shouldn’t always be busy!
6) (Let go of) Perfection: nobody is perfect so don’t try to be
Perfection! As a general rule for life, you should avoid striving for perfection as it has been found to lead to negative thoughts, unhappiness and poor mental wellbeing.
Remember that nobody is perfect, and you may not always get it right. Whether the turkey is slightly over done, or you bought the wrong size slippers, it doesn’t matter! It’s the thought that counts!
Also, if you experienced a disrupted Christmases in 2020 or 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic you might want to make this year extra special. Make sure that your expectations are realistic; not all Christmases can be magical so don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself!
7) Happiness: don’t forget to relax and have fun
Happiness! It’s been proven that having fun is one of the best ways to reduce stress and anxiety and improve wellbeing. So, enjoy yourself; that’s what Christmas is all about! Try to put worries to the back of your mind. If it helps, write down the things that are bothering you and deal with them another day. Try to relax and be merry! If you are going to drink, do it wisely, there’s no harm in enjoying a mince pie or 12 though!
Think RUDOLPH to help you to prepare for making Christmas stress free!
RUDOLPH can help you have a less stressful Christmas. When we approach Christmas with a more relaxed attitude, it allows us to enjoy the little moments that make this time of year so special. So don't worry about having the perfect Christmas - just focus on RUDOLPH!
If you're looking to raise mental health awareness in an informal way this Christmas, why not run a Corporate Wellness Lunch and Learn session? We also run Online Mental Health Lunch and Learns.
This article has been updated and was originally posted in 2017.