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Mind

How to have a stress-free Christmas

Navigate the silly season with ease by following these tips.

By Penny Lewis
It's a joyous time of year, but along with all the festivities comes the stress. Whether you're on edge about getting everything organised or nervous about how family members will get on, there are often triggers that can create unnecessary pressure.
But it doesn't have to be that way! Life coaches Jennie Hill and Tracy Tressider offer some advice for a hassle-free Christmas.

Stay positive

Have a realistic idea of what you hope to achieve in the lead-up to Christmas, advises Jennie.
"It's better to exceed expectations than fail to meet them," she says. "Unmet expectations create negative emotions, which can lead to a really poor start to the festive season. Ask others what they want to do and what part they will take ownership of. Encourage kids to organise, create and contribute."
Jennie also suggests setting some goals. "Ask yourself questions like, 'What will make this season work for me? How do I want to feel when it's over? What would my festive season be like in an ideal world? What boundaries can I reasonably put in place?'"

Organisation

"Write down everything that needs to be done and keep it in one place," says Tracy. "Use reminders on your phone, a calendar or a big post-it note – get it out of your head and on to one list.
Sort into four categories: Do it, delegate it, defer it or drop it. Assign a block of time to do the things on the list, then you're less likely to procrastinate. When you do a thing is key. You have a two-and-a-half-hour peak of productivity per day, starting a couple of hours after waking."

Dealing with problematic people

"Difficult friends and family are no different during the holidays than they are at other times," Tracy says.
"Set boundaries as to what you will and will not tolerate, and have this conversation well before the actual gathering."

Christmas grocery shopping hacks

Get a head start
Begin the Christmas shop for non-perishables, decorations and supplies now to spread the load on your pay days.
Opt for pre-made
A big worry at Christmas is whether what you're cooking will taste delicious and look how you want it to. We're often making unfamiliar food items and have less time to do so than during the rest of the year. Skip the stress by opting for pre-made goodies. All you need to do is heat and serve!
Last-minute pressies
Combine food shopping with gift shopping. Supermarkets have a full range of gift cards to satisfy even the trickiest person, as well as chocolates, fresh flowers, plants and a selection of small toys.

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