Are you a lover of Christmas? Do you get excited when the Coca-Cola Christmas advert comes on the television? Do you long for the first flurry of snow?

These are the signs that tell you it’s the ideal time to start shopping for the perfect Christmas gifts. Even though we know it’s usually sensible to start early, sometimes we leave Christmas shopping until the last minute. Why? Because we are procrastinating.

‘Christmas shopping procrastination’ is when we delay it until we can no longer avoid it. Until it becomes urgent we will carry out tasks which are less important but more enjoyable. We develop an ‘ostrich syndrome’, which sees us burying our heads in the sand rather than dealing with things head on. This makes no sense because at some point the task will have to be confronted.

Christmas shopping procrastination can be simplified into two statements. Which do you fall into?

1. Christmas shopping is an unpleasant task and should be put off for as long as possible.

2. I enjoy the hustle and bustle and deadline of shopping last minute for Christmas presents.

christmas presentIf you agree with the first statement you are categorised as an ‘Avoidance Procrastinator’. A person who will use delaying tactics for as long as possible in order to avoid any decision making and feelings of anxiety or stress. This can be your downfall. Instead of trying to be organised and shopping before the rush, you leave it until the last shopping day before Christmas. An Avoidance Procrastinator’s nightmare is that they will find themselves staring at half empty shelves un-able to decide what to buy, feeling panic and dread set in.

If you agree with the second statement you are categorised as an ‘Arousal Procrastinator’. You do not plan shopping trips as you do not consider them to be important. Liking a deadline, you will wait until the last shopping day before Christmas and will run around like a headless chicken. You will often buy presents without really considering who they are for. The thrill of this and the buzz you experience makes this an enjoyable task.

If you find Christmas shopping to be a stressful experience, and/or if you feel stressed at other times, there are various ways to cope with it. Remember that stress is a normal part of life and there is help if you need it.

Tip 1: Care for your body. Your body needs time to rest and repair itself so it’s important to get the right amount of sleep, eat a well balanced diet and exercise regularly.

Tip 2: It’s better to be prepared rather than worrying and fretting. Write a list of everything that you have to do and prioritise the most important items. Create a plan of action that tackles each item one at a time.

Tip 3: Talk to friends or family instead of bottling up your emotions. Outsiders can listen to you and give alternative perspectives to your problems. Talking to others can ease some of the pressure.

Tip 4: Breathe. It’s one of the easiest and most natural things to do. Breathing slowly and deeply releases tension in the muscles and can help clear your mind. The most common technique to relaxation breathing is to inhale until your lungs are full and then expel the air slowly.

Tip 5: Smile, even when you don’t feel like it. Smiling can trick your brain into thinking that you are happy, and can in turn make you feel happier.

crying womanHowever, sometimes it feels like stress is overwhelming us. Stress can become a problem that may begin to affect your work performance, personal relationships and daily activities. Counsellors and Psychotherapists can help you to deal with your stress by helping you work through your issues and offering you constructive and effective methods for coping. Stress counselling can also increase your self esteem and confidence.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a logical, goal-oriented systematic approach to addressing psychological issues. It focuses on thoughts, feelings and behaviours, giving you tools and techniques to make changes in your life.

If you think you may benefit from stress counselling or CBT you are welcome to contact us for a free consultation, which will allow you to explore your options. The Green Rooms are a confidential, professional organisation who offer appointments world-wide.