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The shops are full of mince pies, the festive lights have been switched on and Christmas markets are go. If you you haven’t quite caught up, the festivities are just around the corner. According to the Stress Management Society one in twenty of us find Christmas more stressful than being burgled. Yes, really. If you’re that one in twenty we’ve got your festive wellbeing covered with some practical tips to ensure you keep your cool in the run up to yule.

Beneath all the tinsel and glitz, Christmas can be stressful time. Whether it’s the pressure you’re placing on yourself to create the perfect holiday, the stress of trying to keep others happy or simply a lack of time, Christmas can be quite a stretch. Festive wellbeing tends to take a backseat as you’re pulled in a multitude of directions trying to create a perfect Christmas. Instead of letting the ‘most wonderful time of the year’ get you down we’ve got 5 top tips to maintain your wellbeing and keep you on track.

Festive Wellbeing 1: Forget perfection. Be kind to yourself. You don’t have to be perfect (nobody is, honestly). Accept that some things will get done and some things won’t and that’s ok. Sometimes good enough is exactly what it says on the tin. You don;t have to have the worlds best and biggest tree or decorative lights that would shame Oxford Street. Stop comparing yourself or trying to keep up with impossible standards. Focus on what’s important and forget the rest.

Festive Wellbeing 2: Learn to say ‘No’ It might mean going against your normal festive plan of keeping everyone happy, but that little word ‘No’ will help you to manage your time and your stress levels.

Festive Wellbeing 3: Make time for yourself. Set aside downtime. Make sure that amongst all the preparation and planning you carve out time to meditate, read a book, exercise, listen to music to unwind or practice mindfulness for a few minutes each day (check out our free meditation e-book to get you started).

Festive Wellbeing 4: Go easy on the bubbles. We hate to be party poopers but alcohol can increase to your stress levels. Reaching for the bottle or for something sweet and fatty to push down your stress will add to your stress. An overload of sugar from booze or festive treats can compromise your gut bacteria leaving you feeling fatigued and achey. Your immune system will also be affected as a result of the stress on your liver resulting in acid reflux, bloating and extreme grouchiness. Whilst we’re not advocating abstinence (hey, it’s Christmas, after all) keeping your immune system bolstered with a green juice or lots of fruit and veg will mitigate against any over indulgence.

Festive Wellbeing 5: Be realistic. If your usual Christmas traditions involve a family tiff or two don’t set yourself up for disappointment. Realistic expectations will help you to manage any domestic fireworks and take the pressure of pretending that you can control the behaviour of others (you can’t). And if all else fails, breathe deeply to dampen down your fight, flight or freeze response. Breathe in for a count of five, pause and exhale for a count of five. Practice this for a couple of minutes to soothe stressful moments and maintain your calm.

Whatever you’re doing this Christmas all of us at Planet Positive Change wish you one filled with peace, love, calm and happiness!

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