In the run-up to 25 December, follow our stress-free guide and enjoy your happiest and most relaxed day yet…
Step into Christmas
It’s easy to think that we just don’t have time to exercise in the run-up to Christmas. But studies show that the more we exercise, the less stressed we feel, and our energy, happiness and productivity levels improve. So, kick off your Christmas with a 25-minute walk today, and try to keep it up each day.
Remember — it’s a wonderful life
We’re all guilty of downplaying the good aspects of our lives at times. This can be especially true in the run-up to Christmas when we’re often feeling stressed, broke and a bit depleted. But research suggests the more grateful we are, the more cheerful and less stressed we feel. So, write a list of 20 things you’re thankful for. Put it somewhere you can see it, and each time you feel stressed, it’ll provide you with fresh perspective.
Think ‘roasted chestnuts on an open fire…’
Making sure you fuel your Yule the right way can give a much-needed energy boost. Prepare some healthier snacks, such as bowls of walnuts, chestnuts, oranges or a cranberry smoothie, which all contain B vitamins, known for keeping our immune system healthy and our energy levels topped up.
Enjoy a silent night
With all the extra jobs and socialising around Christmas, we’re often shattered by the day itself. Getting enough sleep is vital, so try to ensure you’re getting eight hours a night.
Or, if that isn’t possible, carve out time in the day to nap or at least rest.
Spread some joy to the world
Do you know that the act of giving can help decrease blood pressure and reduce stress? Research suggests altruistic behaviour releases endorphins and oxytocin into the brain, which leaves us feeling happy and relaxed. Make someone’s day and become your street’s Secret Santa! Pop a few chocolate coins or home-made mince pies with a note on their doorstep. You’ll be surprised how much joy it’ll bring both them and you.
Avoid the nightmare before Christmas
The idea of the perfect Christmas is a myth. Piling pressure on yourself to make the perfect dinner and be the perfect host will leave you frazzled. Studies show that constantly striving for perfection can harm our mental health, heighten stress levels and is linked to heart disease. Your day will still be brilliant, even if you don’t add all those extra touches. Good enough is just that.
Embrace love… actually
We normally spend the day before Christmas frantically rushing around doing chores. But if we really want to relax on Christmas Day, we should spend that last day having fun with family. Spending time with loved ones reduces stress levels and improves mood. Our brains function better and our heart health is boosted. Get out the board games, sing some carols and watch a festive movie.
Edited by Stephanie May