Do you wish for a less stressful Christmas? As we know, Christmas does not happen on its own. It does not matter how prepared and organised you are, it takes serious time, effort and investment to host family and friends over Christmas, It’s a beautiful time of the year; however, someone has to put in the elbow grease to make it happen and this endeavour falls on women most of the time.

Christmas can be one of the most stressful times of the year even in the best of time however menopause and Christmas can combine to produce an exponential amount of stress especially if you are not feeling yourself and suddenly you can feel overwhelmed with the endless to-do lists.

For most menopausal women the Christmas season is one of most significant trigger times for symptoms such as anxiety, hot flushes and forgetfulness. Women can experience a higher frequency of hot flushes than usual when levels of stress are increased at work and at home during the Christmas season.

1. Make Two Lists

There’s no doubt a “To-Do” List helps with organisation and keeping tabs, especially if struggling with brain fog and forgetfulness which goes hand in hand with menopause. Post-it notes are my saviour. However, I have found a “Don’t Do It” List to be equally important during the Christmas season.

A Don’t Do It List is a reminder to yourself of all the things that really are not important in the grand scheme of things. Ease up on trying to make Christmas perfect and remember you don’t have to do everything. You can pare down your shopping list by suggesting to family and friends that you do a gift exchange in which everyone buys for just one person.

2. Ease the Stress

Find ways to make some downtime each day in the lead up to the holiday even if its just a soak in the tub. When the going gets tough delegate and find yourself some elves to help.

3. Cut back on the Presents

Christmas is not about buying presents. OK maybe for the kids only. Cut back on the exchange of presents with friends. The pressure to buy the perfect gift, wrap and deliver it can be a catalyst for menopause Meltdown. Why not meet up with friends for a meal post Christmas and take the pressure off yourself and friends. Can’t face the shopping malls? Order online.

4. Limit the Alcohol

Over-indulgence and Christmas seem to go hand in hand. Many of us can fall off the healthy bandwagon during this festive season. The key is to make sure you are nutritionally and physically fit before the onslaught of Christmas parties start. Alcohol raises cortisol, too much alcohol and fatty foods can make your liver go into overtime and put your body under stress and exacerbate menopause symptoms. Try a spritzer or alternate drinks or just stop drinking earlier.

5. Make it a Family Affair

Christmas time combined with menopause symptoms can be a sure trigger for anxiety during the holidays. Take measures to help make the holidays stress free.⠀ Let your family know what you are going through and how you are feeling. ⠀

Its not a one woman job! Involve the whole family, kids, grandkids, extended family and friends if needed to help decorate the home. It will be fun and help to create some festive cheer. ⠀

6. Bring and Share

Do a ‘Bring and Share’ Christmas meal or anytime over the festive period if you are hosting the whole family. You provide the turkey or ham and everyone else brings their favourite starter, pudding or nibbles. This way you are not stressed and bedraggled when everyone arrives, and you have not spent all day cooking. Free up some time for family and get out of the kitchen!

7. Tweak What you Eat

You don’t have to skip all the treats, but do watch your intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates, which can cause a sharp rise in your blood glucose followed by a dip which leaves you feeling drained and frazzled. Eat lean proteins such as turkey and fish, plenty of vegetables and foods with low GI such as sweet potatoes.

I hope you find these tips useful. Do try and make time for yourself and maybe have a break from the family with a walk outside or curl up with a book and a cup of tea if it all gets too much. Have a great Christmas and New Year!