Who wants a rough start to their new year in 2012 with credit card bills piling up? Does anyone want to spend Christmas without desirable companionship on this joyful event?  The Christmas spending budget of Australian shoppers this year has been predicted to reach an astonishing figure of $23 billion. For those of you most likely to fall among these extravagant spenders the episodes of your last year’s Christmas spending splurge should not go to waste. Learn to tame some of the Christmas stress factors that become a hindrance to you enjoying this holiday period with family and friends.

Have a budget and avoid over-spending

Don’t overwhelm yourself by indulging in “Christmas delights” shopping sprees.  Financial stress has adverse effects on your holiday mental health and physical well-being, spoiling your post-vacation normal life routine. A better idea would to follow the phrase “early bird catches the worm”. Take a head start approach by saving beforehand and enjoy spending  on your favourite Christmas discounts deals.

Leading positive psychologist Dr Timothy Sharp, popularly known as Dr Happy makes a pro-saving statement by stating that it’s good that over half of Australians (51.1%) are thrifty savers. “While we get immediate pleasure from purchasing items, it’s the savings that give us the most long term satisfaction’’.

Set yourself a spending budget and stick to it. Negotiate with family members and friends about how much you want to spend on each other. This saves any embarrassment that might come from giving and receiving gifts that are at very different price points. Another strategy is to use the ‘secret santa’ process of putting all family members’ names in a hat and each person drawing out one name. This is the only gift you buy for your family member and will save all family members considerable expense.

Be aware of potential loneliness

Christmas is a festive time of the year where you cherish time with your friends and family.  But many families have suffered the ugly fate of broken homes and loss of a loved one earlier this year. Depression overshadows the merry spirit and can lead towards a sense of gloominess.

Joint Managing Director of Body Matters Australasia, Sarah McMahon, shared her own tips on how to avoid feeling of loneliness sweeping into your Merry Christmas. She says “Develop your own rituals or routines to celebrate Christmas. Manage loneliness by preparing something that you enjoy on Christmas Day or closely thereafter. Consider whether there are other people in your local community who may be similarly isolated who you could celebrate with. Look for opportunities to share the Christmas spirit with those less fortunate than you.”

Be altruistic- receive through giving

You can enlighten a sense of well-being by polishing your generous nature this Christmas. An Australian Institute paper titled “Unwanted Christmas Present” stated a remarkable finding that 73% of Australians are happy to receive a donation made in their name over a tangible Christmas present. Psychologist Sarah McMahon says “There are many options for volunteering your time to help others during Christmas. Helping others gives you purpose and can boost your confidence and your mood.”

Helping those in needs is one of the most effectively implemented holiday stress tips advised by psychologists. Simple acts of generosity can help you connect with your own sense of gratitude and help you feel positive about your own life and circumstances.

Leave your work in the office

The long Christmas vacations are your perfect excuse to leave behind all workplace stress in the office.

All year round you expose yourself to high level workplace stress in the form of anxiety, depression, nervousness tensions, strain and musculoskeletal disorders. Relax your state of mind and revitalise your health during your Christmas break.

Try tackling all work before the holidays for organisational psychologist Leanne Faraday-Brash states ”If people work really hard to clear the decks it’s easier to relax. We can tell ourselves we’ve left everything in good shape and we’re not going to come back to chaos.” But be realistic in assessing which work can be completed within deadline and what needs to be left out for later.

What are your tips for having a stress-free Christmas? Please put your comments in the box below.


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