Health

All I want for Christmas is a little less stress

I love this time of year. Yet, I also hate it. I love it because of all the wonderful things the season brings—gatherings with friends and family, year-end work parties, lovely gifts, yummy food and drinks, fun activities with the kids and more.

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I love this time of year. Yet, I also hate it. I love it because of all the wonderful things the season brings—gatherings with friends and family, year-end work parties, lovely gifts, yummy food and drinks, fun activities with the kids and more.

But I also hate this time of year because getting to all those wonderful things often means hair-pulling-out stress. Things have been a bit, er, snippish at my house lately and it’s no wonder—the hubby and I are both feverishly trying to wrap up all our work projects before the holiday break. And when we’re not working or rushing around with the kids, we’re making Martha-like cookies and other treats for friends coming over. Or we’re jamming in last minute holiday shopping at the packed mall or madly scribbling our Christmas cards. Or we’re accompanying our oldest child on last week of school field trips or wrapping school and daycare teacher gifts while begging my kids to turn off the TV to make their teacher cards instead. I don’t need to go on right? I know, the stress is oozing out of the screen.

So, while I’m so giddily excited for Christmas to actually arrive, the trip itself seems exhausting and I’m having a hard time being happy this week. Deck the halls my *@! I actually muttered to myself the other day while navigating my Toyota through a fat-flaked snowstorm.

Thankfully, I came cross Julia James, a Vancouver-based life coach who offered up her three Rs to handle seasonal stress: reduce, regift and relax. Reduce, meaning to pick and choose activities so you’re not doing it all; regift—send along those Belgian chocolate wafers to another appreciative recipient; and relax, so taking time to enjoy the season.

With that in mind, I eagle-eyed my tasks that lay ahead of me until Christmas day and here’s what I came up with:

* Reduce: I nixed the homemade cheese biscuits I was going to prep for some friends coming over in favour of some snacks from the bulk food store instead. Meanwhile I also outsourced my holiday cleaning to Molly Maid—merry Christmas to me!

* Regift…well, I’ll find a home for those wafers and that’s one less shopping trip for me; and while it doesn’t exactly fit into regift, I’m heading online to wrap up the rest of my shopping. Bye-bye mall head.

* Relax: That’s the hard one. I’m thinking tonight instead of scribbling the cards and prepping hors d’oeuvres, I’ll convince the hubby to flop on the couch and enjoy one of our holiday traditions—National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.  

Meanwhile, slowing down and thinking more might also help me get through this coming week, says Monica Magnetti, a Vancouver-based life coach with Luna Coaching. “No matter what you do or think or feel, the act of breathing deeply, consciously, intentionally will keep you in the present and let you experience who you are in life,” she says. Her advice? To stop and decide how you’re going to handle each task on the to-do list that’s longer than Santa’s naughty or nice tome. “We can only have one thought at a time,” she says. “For you, is that thought going to be “I’m stressed about this,” or is it going to be “I can handle this?”  

Here goes…