As the Christmas countdown continues its inexorable march, we are subject to a variety of emotions. Those of us with children cannot help but get caught up in the magic of the festive season, and there are plenty of “big kids” without little ones of their own, who cannot wait to get the decorations up, hit the shops and start ordering the Christmas fare.
However, Christmas can also be immensely stressful. There are societal expectations to “put on a good Christmas,” there’s the seemingly impossible list of people for whom you need to think up the perfect gift, and then, of course, there’s the question of finding the money for it all. There’s no magic wand that will solve any of these problems, but there are some simple steps you can take to reduce the stress levels and appreciate all that is wonderful about the Christmas and New Year season.
Use natural solutions to relax and boost happiness
When everything starts getting on top of you, it can be tempting to reach for a medicative solution. If a doctor has advised doing so, that is one thing, but if not, seek a natural fix instead. The 5-HTP+ patch is a simple and effective way to boost serotonin levels, which will inevitably dip with the reduced daylight hours and the increased stress of Christmas. Another great natural stress reliever is Epsom Salts. These are magnesium-rich, and are great for relieving muscle stress and calming the mind. Try adding a generous portion to a hot bath.
Remember, it’s a time for giving
Getting into the true spirit of Christmas is one of the best ways of avoiding the stress of the season. Find a way to volunteer and help others this Christmas – it doesn’t have to mean spending the whole holiday season volunteering at a homeless shelter – it might just be a case of sparing an hour or two for a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie with an elderly neighbour. Scientists have proved that altruistic acts are highly beneficial to our mental wellbeing, so remember what Christmas is all about, and do what you can.
The word might sound a little “new age,” but all mindfulness really means is living in the moment. If things begin to get on top of you, make yourself take a step back, both physically and mentally. Think about your thought processes, and if there is a genuine problem or challenge that is troubling you, it suddenly becomes far easier to identify practical and constructive solutions, instead of getting bogged down in stress and negativity.
Caffeine and alcohol are not helpful
What’s your favourite tipple? A cup of coffee? Glass of wine? There’s nothing wrong with enjoying these things, and chances are, you’ll be having plenty of your favourite at Christmas. But in the weeks running up to the season, if your nerves are jangling, caffeine and alcohol are not going to help. Take the opportunity to try out some festive caffeine-free infusions, such as a mulled fruit tea. Delicious, warming and calming, it could be exactly what you need.