How to deal with the stress of family this Christmas

Christmas the time of year that everyone above the age of fourteen becomes stressed, tired and skint. So when the big day finally comes around and the house is full of friends, relatives and those family members you spend all year trying to avoid, things can quickly become chaos.

So how do you make it to the New Year with a full head of hair and your sanity still intact? Follow our six simple steps on how to deal with the stress of family this Christmas.

Mental preparation
Before you can even think about opening that front door to the first of your guests this festive season, you must first mentally prepare yourself for the day ahead. Many of us dread this most joyous day of the year due to the many negative memories people have collected throughout their lives. However if you approach the day thinking it is going to end in disaster, then the likelihood of that happening increases. So wipe your memory clean of all past Christmases and take on the day with a positive attitude.

Unrealistic expectations
With the countless amounts of Christmas films taking over our television screens, the image of that perfect Christmas day can easily become embedded in your mind. These unrealistic expectations must be quickly disposed of, because in real life they are near impossible to achieve. They will leave you feeling disappointed with both the day and yourself. It is therefore best to not have any expectations, so you can just enjoy each and every unique moment as it come.

To ensure the day goes as smoothly as possible, it is recommended that you plan almost every element. If you are hosting, make a schedule that outlines the time for everyone to arrive, the time of dinner, the time to open gifts and any other activities.

You can then give this schedule to everyone attending ahead of time, so they all know what to expect. Also if there are family members who tend to clash during these occasions, it is wise to plan seating arrangements and even neutral topics of conversations for the dinner table.

Call a friend
You can often feel trapped when your entire family is crammed under the same roof, especially if it’s an overnight affair. During these moments of feeling claustrophobic and exasperated, arrange to call a friend. This connection with the outside world will reboot your mind and remind you that the holidays don’t last forever and you will return back to civilisation soon.

You cannot control everything
This last tip is possibly the most important. You must remind yourself that you cannot control the actions of others. It is common for family debates and discussions to lead to tension and bitter disagreement, or for someone to drink one too many mulled wines and voice their deepest, darkest thoughts.

Of course, you can try to defuse the tension, however often these situations are out of our control. The best thing you can do during these moments is remove yourself from the room or situation completely. This will keep your stress levels in check, so you can carry on with the day and enjoy what’s left of it.

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