With extra financial pressures caused by unemployment stress levels peak at what is supposed to be a happy time. Learn to cut your stress and have a happier and healthier Christmas.



Stress comes in a myriad of forms. It occurs when we experience conflict. The conflict might be between what we want to do and what we can afford to do, or it might be between what you WANT to do and what you feel you HAVE to do. Cut stress this Christmas time by recognising and coming to terms with these conflicts.



Christmas is a time when we all have extra obligations to others, but we also have an obligation to look after our own health. Stress causes all kinds of health problems, from stomach disorders to sleeplessness, high blood pressure and skin rashes. Most people never think about managing and cutting their stress levels until they are ill.



This Christmas look after your health, understand the causes of your stress and work to reconcile the conflicts that cause it. The first step is always to recognise and verbalise the conflict, only then can you take the second step of dealing with it and resolving the conflict to cut your stress.


Financial Conflicts this Christmas


Recognising the Conflict


You may be unemployed or your income might have fallen in some other way. You may feel under pressure to spend too much on gifts for friends and family. You may feel guilty that you cannot spend as much on Christmas presents as you have in the past.


Resolve the Conflict and Reduce Your Stress


The presents you gave last Christmas reflected your income last year. Work out how much disposable income you had in the past. Disposable income is how much you have left after paying for all the essentials of life. Now work out how much disposable income you have this Christmas.



If you have no job, you have no disposable income. Your income now might be a half what it used to be, but your disposable income has totally disappeared because all of your reduced income goes on essentials.



Adults understand this and you do not even need to explain things to them. Children do need explanations, but keep it brief. Prioritise spending on your own children, but still cut back on your previous spending on them. Find some money for their presents by cutting back in other ways.



Never borrow money for Christmas presents, because if you do then next Christmas will be even worse because you will have extra loans or credit cards to pay off.



Cut your stress by not buying gifts for any adults this Christmas. Do not buy anything for your partner, parents or grown up children.


Time Conflicts

Recognising the Conflict


There might not be enough hours in the day to fit in all the things you feel you should do. This makes you feel under pressure and you can feel your stress levels mounting. When you are stressed you workless efficiently and everything takes longer, which makes you more stressed…


Resolve the Conflict and Cut Your Stress


Write down all the things you feel you should do this Christmas. Make a separate list of all the things you want to do. Compare your two lists.



Now start a new list under a heading 'Might Do If I Feel Like It'


Start deleting things from your 'Should Do' list and move them to your 'Might Do' list. Chances are you will get everything on your 'Might Do' list done anyway, but you will cut your stress by reducing the guilt inducing Should Do category.


Expectation Conflicts

Recognising the Conflict


We have expectations of other people and they in turn have expectations of us. Sometimes there is a conflict, where one person expects or assumes you are going to follow one course of action and another person assuming you are going to do the opposite.


Resolve the Conflict and Cut Your Stress


Recognise that you cannot please all of the people all of the time and let them live with that. This is the only way you can cut your stress.



This Christmas do what you want to do and let those who have made assumptions get used to the idea that you are your own person, with your own priorities and that you will do what you actually want to do, at least most of the time.



Cut stress by talking with your partner about the pressure you are feeling under and agree between yourselves how you are going to spend the time this Christmas.


Emotional Conflicts


Recognising the Conflict


You and your partner may live together, but you are still different people, with different histories and different emotional reactions to some situations. For example, the two of you will feel different emotions when visiting either set of parents; this is the origin of Mother in Law jokes. You have a history with your mother that your partner does not share, so naturally you feel differently about her.



You may want to be in two places this Christmas because you have emotional ties to parents and partner for example.


Resolve the Conflict 


Discussion with the important people in your life will cut your stress levels. Discussing emotional conflict will reassure both parties that the other is aware of how they feel and removes the need for polite pretence.



If you want to visit parents and spend this Christmas with your partner you can do that. You can always visit parents on your own for a few days over the holiday, spending most of the time at home with your partner.





Cut stress this Christmas by talking to people and discussing the different options. Sometimes you will find that your friend does not really have the expectations that you think they have, so any conflict is instantly resolved. It is also very important to take time out to be on your own, or as a couple, away from children or other family commitments.