Self-care during the festive season
Christmas time is one of the most stressful times of the year for individuals and families. A lot of stress is placed on the individual as they deal with a myriad of feelings, ‘doing’ and obligations.
- Missing someone who should be there with you
- Not liking Christmas but pretending you do
- Traumatic memories of a past Christmas
- Buying gifts
a. Money might be an issue
b. Worrying if it’s the right one can lead to stress
- Pretending you’re all good and into the swing of Christmas
- Attending family functions
- Buying a gift for someone who always buys you a gift
- Buying gifts because it is expected of you
What can you do?
a. Ask yourself how much you want to be invested personally and financially
b. Is it for children, adults or families?
c. If you don’t want to go to the awkward family function, say so. Offer an alternative solution to spend time with family, ie. Christmas breakfast, Christmas eve or weekend BBQ at your house (with invited guests)
2. Set financial limits and stick to them
a. You don’t have to buy everyone a gift
b. In the New Year, set up a separate bank account and regularly put aside a small amount each week / fortnight just for Christmas. This will take the stress out of finding the money next year and whatever is in your bank account at the end of the year, is your limit.
3. Consider creative alternatives
a. Cooking: Put together a family hamper of goodies. Bake some biscuits and top up with things from the supermarket or Shiploads
b. Craft items. Knit your friend a beanie or scarf in their favourite footy team colours
c. Woodwork. Do up a vintage piece of furniture
d. Pot a few plants. Ask neighbours for some cuttings if you don’t have any
e. Organise an event or outing for another time
i. Children – take to the zoo, Airtime. Kids will remember this more than the truckload of presents they got
ii. Adults – BBQ, a day at the beach, ‘lets go camping’
f. Offer your time in lieu
i. Help older adults at home: garden, minor repairs, outings
ii. Mind kids while parents have a date night
g. Buy local
i. Café voucher
h. Make your own vouchers – be creative and use your creative talents to make them special
4. Tell family and friends what you are doing instead of buying gifts or attending functions well before the event, so there are no surprises
a. Maybe have those discussions to limit the amount of gifts
i. For kids only. To a certain financial limit – it’s not a competition
5. Tell people what you want in lieu of presents:
a. Help to fix the car, do some gardening or fixing something around house
b. Gift voucher – Bunnings (so you can make repairs or things), music festival (except for Falls Marion Bay – cause they’ve cancelled it) or ticket to the footy when it comes around, hairdresser / barber, etc
c. Combine Birthday and Christmas present by saying you’d rather celebrate your birthday
d. Taking your puppadoodles on an adventure
e. Starting an exercise program with someone else that costs no money intially
i. Set an end goal – Burnie 10, Overland Track
6. Consider Live-Streaming or Zoom video calls interstate to coincide with a celebration at each end.
7. Find a quiet place to remember and chat to your loved ones who have passed. Leave a flower or some other tribute.
The only real winners at Christmas are the major retail stores, so buy local where you can.
Australians spend approximately $19.8 billion per year at Christmas and a lot of people end up with massive credit card debts. If you haven’t got the money, don’t put yourself into debt to please someone else.
So, you’re the person who absolutely loves Christmas. That’s okay and good on you. Perhaps be mindful of those who may be struggling financially. Why not propose any of the suggestions noted above??
Take away message: Christmas is a time to be with loved ones and showing you care about them. It’s not about the expensive gifts. It’s not about the stress or anxiety it causes. Be brave to make the change that takes care of your wellbeing.