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Top tips on relieving Stress over Christmas

Christmas is the time of the year when everyone feels as though they should be happy, smiley and jolly. However, the pressure to be cheerful or to create a perfect Christmas while being surrounded by relatives can cause a lot of people to suffer from stress over the festive period.

Here are some tips on how to take a break from the madness and relieve some of the stress associated with Christmas.

Lower expectations

There are many factors that can contribute to poor mental health over the holidays, one of which being the high expectations we place on Christmas. Those who are in charge of hosting feel the burden to create an idealised day for their loved ones, while parents are under a lot of pressure to make sure their children have the most magical time of the year for several weeks leading up to December 25th.

Even people who aren’t organising festivities might have unrealistic expectations of how the day will pan out, which could be ruined by illness, family fall outs, bad weather, or workload being too heavy.
An article in the Guardian stated: “Life is just too complex and messy to ever guarantee the mainstream portrayal of a perfect Christmas. And yet, we still expect it.”

Social media exacerbates these expectations, with users thinking that everyone else is doing more exciting things and having a better time than themselves with these sites not painting an entirely truthful picture.

Therefore, one of the best ways to reduce anxiety is to forget about all the lavish extras that you try and do over the festive period. Having a self-imposed ban on social media until the new year could also be a good idea, so you don’t end up comparing your holiday with other people’s.

Eat well

Most of us love to indulge at Christmas, with a report by Discount Supplements revealing Britons will collectively put on a huge 20 million stone by January 1st due to the amount of sweets, cakes, alcohol, cheese and biscuits we love to consume.

However, while we might like not worrying about what we eat for a week or so, eating fatty and sugar-laden foods as well as high quantities of alcohol can actually make us feel more stressed and less positive.

As well as not taking in vital nutrients that will provide us with energy, vitamins and minerals, feeling bloated, uncomfortable, unable to fit into clothes and hungover will also add to our stress levels.

Instead, Mind recommends snacking regularly, avoiding foods that make your blood sugar levels spike, drinking six to eight glasses of water a day, eating five portions of fruit and vegetables, lowering caffeine intake, adding protein to meals, and cutting out fatty foods.


Another way to reduce your stress over Christmas is to steal some time to yourself, away from the chaos. You might enjoy a long walk in the fresh air, taking part in a Yoga class, practising some mindfulness or reading a book. Alternatively, acupuncture not only gives you some time out to recharge and relax, it is great for those suffering from anxiety, insomnia and depression. 


Matthew Budd BSc (Hons)