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  • Writer's pictureJan Johnson

10 best tips for a calm and stress-free Christmas

Sleeping pug dog wearing Christmas outfit

We all aspire to the idyllic vision of Christmas. The much-hyped media portrayal of snow-filled sparkle and wonder, happy family togetherness, perfect gifts and food-laden tables. How will we ever live up to such high expectations; and if we don’t, then we have failed! Sounds familiar? Taking care of your mental and physical well-being is so important during the festive period. It can be a stressful time with so much on the average to-do list coupled with extra demands on time with parties, work events and family commitments. Financial pressures, family conflict, a recent bereavement or isolation can intensify feelings of sadness and anxiety.

An imagined, all powerful, controlling countdown clock has us in its vice-like grip. It is no wonder that the turning of the new year can find us wrung out! All that added stress impacts the immune system with so many people experiencing their annual winter cold at this time of year. Fortunately, there is plenty you can do to add a little calm, lessen the negative impact, enjoy the festivities and head into January with much more of a spring in your step.

Here are my 10 best tips for a calm and stress-free Christmas

  1. Make time for your self-care. This should be at the top of your to-do list! Don’t forget to book your reflexology appointment for some all-important restorative relaxation. Get outside for a nature walk – even a cold, windy day can leave you feeling alive and invigorated. Soak away a hectic day’s present buying with a comforting bubble bath. Practice mindfulness breathing techniques or meditation before starting your day.

  2. Start your planning as early as possible. Make lists of tasks, present buying, food shopping etc. Consider what you can buy on-line to save time.

  3. Plan menus and prepare food in advance to ease the pressure.

  4. Break away from traditions. Sending cards is a ‘must’ to some but a chore to many. Why not cut down your list, make use of e-cards or donate to charity instead. Prioritise the important things and make new memories by doing something as a family that you’ve never done before.

  5. Get plenty of sleep. This is the time the body repairs and refreshes. Lack of sleep can cause the stress hormone, cortisol to rise so regular quality sleep can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.

  6. Acknowledge your feelings. If life is difficult at the moment, it is normal to feel grief or sadness. Be kind to yourself and take time to express your emotions. Reach out for support to friends or community groups.

  7. Take a news break. The troubles of the world can leave you feeling hopeless and overwhelmed. Limiting your exposure can do wonders for your mood and stress levels.

  8. Delegate tasks to family members if possible. You don’t have to do it all!

  9. Cut yourself some slack and be happy with ‘good enough’. Christmas doesn’t have to be perfect.

  10. Say no. Sometimes being choosy about which events you attend will allow you time to tick off another task on your list or just wallow in that bubble bath!

Remember that the festive and New Year holiday period is supposed to be fun! By incorporating these 10 best tips for a calm and stress-free Christmas, you should be better able to focus on the things that bring joy to you and your family, embrace imperfection and take control of your time, silencing that pesky countdown clock once and for all!

Merry Christmas xx

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