Avoiding the stress of Christmas

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CHRISTMAS CAN BE A VERY STRESSFUL TIME OF YEAR. FOR MANY, THE CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY PERIOD IS A MASS OF COMPLEX SOCIAL INTERACTIONS WITH FAMILY OR RELATIVES, SOME OF WHOM YOU MAY RATHER NOT SEE.

There could well be expectations, or at least perceived expectations, to create a ‘wonderful Christmas’ with presents and perhaps the most important meal of the year.

Some people rate Christmas as being more stressful than divorce or being burgled.

Don’t let the festive season get you down: follow the tips and advice you find here, relax and enjoy yourself. It’s a good idea to have some preplanned excuses to escape from proceedings if they get too stressful. Be imaginative and use things such as leaving the room to make a phone call to a friend or perhaps checking on a neighbour. Just by having planned a couple of escape routes, you’ll probably feel less stressed anyway but actually leaving the situation, even for 10 minutes, will help clear your mind and relax you.

SLEEP WELL
Lack of sleep can make you feel irritable and more prone to feeling stressed. Christmas often means late nights and early mornings, especially if children are involved, so your normal sleep routine may be reduced. Unless we can sleep, we are more likely to feel tired, grumpy stressed Eating lots of rich foods and drinking alcohol can also disturb your sleep, not to mention Santa coming down the chimney in the middle of the night!

MAKE TIME FOR EXERCISE
Christmas is, for many, a time of excessive eating and drinking and exercise can be easily overlooked. Diets and gym memberships are particularly popular in January! Exercise is a great way to reduce stress as it burns off hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline and helps produce mood-enhancing endorphins. Try going for a walk after dinner as the fresh air and exercise will lift your mood and make you feel better.

AVOID EXCESSIVE ALCOHOL
Most de-stressing articles will tell you to avoid alcohol altogether but, let’s be realistic, it is Christmas! However, do avoid excessive alcohol as it dehydrates your body and makes your liver work overtime to process it, alcohol can also hinder quality sleep. Drink as much water or juice as alcohol as this will help you to stay hydrated, feel better and therefore cope better with stressful situations. You’ll also feel better on Boxing Day.

HAVE FUN!
Remember it’s your Christmas too so try to relax and have fun, laugh and be merry. If you do find others around you difficult then try to rise above the situation. If things don’t go to plan try not to worry too much, instead laugh about them and make them into fun memories that you can talk about during Christmases to come. Have a great, stress-free, Christmas break!