Health Plus: Reducing Festive Stress

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Nutritionist Simon Bandy from Seaford-based supplements company Health Plus gives his advice on how to minimise stress levels in the run up to Christmas.

Christmas is a lovely time of the year, but it can also be incredibly stressful; buying lots of gifts, deciding whose family to visit and when, and trying to wrestle with our fellow stressed-out shoppers for the best turkey!

Being a family man with two children, I’m well-versed in the joys and woes of Christmas and there are some easy ways to reduce festive stress and stay calm, without resorting to Santa’s sherry!

Be prepared: Some people are super organised and have all of their Christmas shopping finished by the middle of the year! If you’re like me and not one of those, don’t panic. My wife and I try to buy something for Christmas, be it a toy, cards or food & drink, every time we visit the shops.

This minimises the need to have a stressful ‘day out Christmas shopping’ to get everything you could ever need in one day.

Get crafty and save: In this day and age, giving homemade gifts is very trendy. Go online for some excellent ideas and get creative. I always enjoy making chocolate truffles (very easy and no baking involved!) but there are endless suggestions to suit all creative abilities.

It’s a great way to save money too, therefore reducing the stress of possibly having to re-mortgage for the ‘must-have’ toy this year.

Include the kids: Christmas is mostly all about the children and my daughter loves to be involved in everything, especially putting up the decorations and making mince pies.

They can help you with the above tip of homemade gifts; kids are excellent at scribbling and sticking! But leave them at home with another family member when you go shopping if possible. They get bored and you get annoyed!

Negotiate: I don’t know anyone that doesn’t have stressful moments with the in-laws about who is spending which day with whom. It can be tricky to accommodate everyone’s wishes, but if you can communicate with your relatives openly, it is possible to negotiate happy outcomes for all involved (usually!).

Take time out: After running around buying lots of gifts and food for this one big day, wrapping them, putting up the decorations, negotiating with family, making homemade presents, re-doing the Christmas tree because the dog crashed into it and sent it flying, socialising with everyone on the planet and buying some more gifts, it’s important to take some time out for yourself.

Even if this is a nice hot bath or half hour stroll around the block, it can really help to de-stress and calm the mind and body.