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How to deal with December Stress

This time of year can be chaotic!  It's the end of the year, school is nearly finished, if it hasn't already; there are end of year work parties, Christmas parties, birthday parties for those people born in December who always have to compete for a free Saturday night.  You're buying presents - desparately trying to think of the right gift and battling with thousands of other people in the same boat.  There's more cars on the road and less parking spaces.  Some people will be having family members to stay which might mean higher levels of anxiety.

If only we could think of ways to reduce all that stress....

Every family is different.  They have different traditions, different cultures and different family dynamics.  So it goes without saying that people also have different ways of coping with stressful situations. Here are some of the most stressful things people deal with at this time of year and a few of our suggestions to help you cope.

1. Kids

If your kids have just finished school and you're already tearing your hair out, or maybe you're still at work because your work hours don't match school hours, I have one word for you - preparation!

* organise a community roster with a small group of families and share the load of the child care
* enlist family help 
* book your kids into a holiday programme
* prepare your own holiday programme at home full of things that they can do/play/read/make/create/watch/learn (saving you the constant "I'm bored")

2. Christmas Shopping

Every year we get to December and have to start seriously thinking "why is my family so difficult to buy for?"  If this sounds like you, maybe try:

* keeping an eye out throughout the year for things that your family/friends might need or like
* have a family rule that you pick a name out of a hat and you only buy one present each rather than each person buying for everybody
* ask your family to write a list - 3 things they want and 3 things they need - then you choose one from each list

3. Money

This is the time of the year where we spend the most money, sometimes more than we can afford.  Money is one of the top five causes of stress.  

Maybe try:
* having a monetary limit on gifts
* agree to make/create your gifts
* make a budget and stick to it
* if you host an event (ie: lunch or dinner) ask your guests to bring a dish to share rather than footing the entire bill

4. Family Fallouts

Not every family is as close as they'd probably like to be, so this, being a time when families traditionally come together, can add stress.

You could:
* use the festive season as a reason to try and patch things up
* if that's not possible, call a truce with your family for the festive season
* spend limited time with the people you don't get along with
* meet at a neutral lcoation
* choose not to see the family members who make you feel uncomfortable
* remind yourself of the importance of looking after yourself first

5. Too many invitations

We try to ram as many social activities into this month as we can and it can take its toll.  It can be exhausting and make you want to sleep through the whole of January!

* remember - you don't have to go to everything
* choose one or two events per week and offer apologies to the rest
* keep telling yourself that there's nothing wrong with staying at home and recharging

6. Going on Holiday

Sometimes going on holiday with your family an be as stressful as moving house or having your family come to stay.  Here are some key points...

* choose your destination wisely.  If you're travelling with kids, go somewhere easy where there are things for them to do
* keep your eye out for travel deals throughout the year
* if you're going interstate or overseas, remember - so is everybody else, so airport lines will be 10x longer
* pack light - make a list of everything you might need as you think of it - then halve it

7. Being proposed to

It's a time for loving and giving and can give people a warm fuzzy feeling which is why it is also a notorious time for marriage proposals.  If your partner presents you with a ring this Christmas think for a moment if it is what you want before letting the warm fuzzies overwhelm you into saying something that you don't necessarily mean.  There is also a possibility that your dear dear loved one will ask you the big question in front of all your family.  Don't feel like you have to respond immediately - especially if you're not sure.  Take your time to think about it and to talk with your partner - this is totally ok to do because you want to be on the same page at this stage of your relationship.

If you want to learn more about being on the same page, then marriage education is a great choice and can be a very smart way of building a solid foundation for your marriage.  You can speak to your local TCN Celebrant for more information.

However, if your answer is a resounding "YES", then you'll want to call your local TCN Celebrant immediately to lock them in....  or maybe wait until Boxing Day - at least!





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Monday, 30 January 2023

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