The Christmas Survival Guide
Updated: Apr 21
It’s hard to believe that the Christmas season is nearly upon us, but here we are again. Christmas lights are lining the streets, the weather is warming up, the shops are getting busier, and our calendars are filling with social events.
The holidays can be pressure filled with an array of demands;
Getting things squared away at work before you go on a break.
Or if you’re working through just keeping on top of the workload.
This time of year can be challenging to say the least.
It’s no wonder the festive season often brings extra stress, anxiety and sometimes depression.
You could cancel the Holidays altogether, but that wouldn’t be much fun. Bah Humbug! If you’re not willing to give up on the festivities, here is a list of my 5 tips to get through the silly season relatively unscathed.
1. Plan ahead
We are approximately three weeks out from Santa’s arrival. Start planning now to avoid the last-minute Christmas Eve dash to the shops. Set aside specific days for shopping, cooking, visiting friends and other activities. Work smarter, not harder – online grocery shopping is an excellent option for non-perishable items that can be purchased weeks or months in advance and help keep things on a budget. Plan your menus and make your shopping list well in advance to prevent last-minute scrambling. This way, you can avoid forgotten ingredients, having to deal with the Christmas parking rush or over-packed shopping experiences.
2. Be good to yourself so that you can be good to others.
Known as ‘the most wonderful time of the year’, it can also be the most stressful. Make some time for yourself to avoid burnout. Go for a walk (you could even do this during the evening to do some Christmas light viewing), read a book, listen to a podcast or music, go swimming or meditate.
Spending just 15 minutes without distractions may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do or deal with at this time of year.
If things get tough, reach out to a trusted friend or family member for an honest chat about how you feel. To seek support, you can also contact Lifeline on 13 11 44 (cost of a local call from a landline or free from a mobile).
3. Budget, budget, budget!
There’s a lot of pressure to spend big on gifts at this time of year, but pricey presents aren’t necessarily the way to go. Agree on a spending limit - Suggest to your loved ones that you set a limit on how much you will spend on gifts for each other to keep your budgets under control. If you are playing host this year, asks guests to bring a dish – nibbles, salads, dessert or drinks. There’s no need to shoulder the cost and work yourself!
Keeping track of your festive spending is the best way to avoid going over your budget this Christmas. Try using a budgeting app that allows you to nominate a spending limit for different Christmas expenses and track your progress while you shop.
Keeping on top of your finances is imperative if you aren’t earning an income. Speak to your employer about expected return dates and allow for unexpected costs.
4. Everything in Moderation
Don’t worry. I’m not here to tell you to avoid the Christmas ham (blasphemy) or say no to a few festive beverages. It’s all about balance - if you have overindulged, follow it up with a healthier option next time. No amount of delicious food is worth playing havoc with your energy levels, health and all that hard work you put in at the gym throughout the year. I know, easier said than done.
5. Enjoy It!
And the most important thing is to Enjoy It! Don't feel pressured to follow the crowd and do what everybody else does if it's not for you. Use the time off to relax and reset. You don't want to need a holiday after your holiday.