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Sure-fire strategies to fend off seasonal stress as survey reveals Christmas pressures

Last update - Sunday, December 15, 2013, 18:20 By Metro Éireann

The Christmas season is a major trigger for stress among Irish adults, according to a new study commissioned by a leading headache and antacid remedy brand.

Half of all those surveyed (49 per cent) said they were stressed about Christmas, with the vast majority (76 per cent) being anxious about pressures on personal finances over the season.
The so-called ‘sandwich generation’ – women between the ages of 32 and 50 juggling household budget and family duties – carry the biggest seasonal stress burden, with 76 per cent reporting seasonal pressure compared to an average of 63 per cent among younger and older adults
These women cited that the pressures of shopping, cooking, cleaning and entertaining on top of coping with role of ‘chief financial officer’ for their household.
“For many Irish adults the downturn has already caused immense worry and concern, ” said Alka-Seltzer brand manager Jennifer Walsh. “The additional pressures on pockets at Christmas can pile on even more stress, adding to financial difficulties.”
Walsh listed a number of strategies to ensure Christmas stress is made as minimal as possible:
Be prepared The more preparing you can do in advance, the better. If you are relaxed and de-stressed, the chances are that everyone else will be too. If you’ve got a home full of people enjoying themselves, you’ll have a good time even if the turkey doesn’t defrost or the Brussels sprouts are soggy.
Prune your action list Cull your list of chores and ensure that only essential actions make it on to your list.
Share the Christmas workload Don’t think it’s a failure to delegate tasks to family and friends. Give people something to do. Not only will it help you it will also make them feel useful and more relaxed, too.
Cut your gift list Rein in the present buying; limit gifts to children only, draw names, or organise a gift exchange.
Set a budget for gifts Set an upper limit to spend on each person including wrapping and delivery costs. Don’t let the budget spiral out of control. If you plan early there are bargains to be had.
Focus on the free stuff Concentrate on the free pleasures of Christmas - making memories and having fun with your children.
Indigestion making someone disagreeable? Keep meals to a manageable size. Heartburn and indigestion from excessive eating doesn’t make for a happy day. Unfortunately our eating habits at Christmas and large fatty meals can take their toll.
Take time for you! Have a mini-break from routine to read, take a walk, snooze or have a relaxing bath.
Make it fun, not perfect A lot of people, women especially, try to get everything absolutely right when they’re under stress. Ease off the perfectionism. Spending time with people and having quality time with them is what’s going to make a good Christmas, and that’s what people will remember.
The study was commissioned by Alka-Selzter and comprises the results of a survey of 1,000 Irish adults.

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