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Coping with the Stress of Christmas

Coping with the Stress of Christmas

Christmas is all about family, friends, fun, feasting …. and for many people, being completely frazzled!

If you find the run-up to Christmas exhausting and rather stressful, you are not alone. There have a been a number of studies that show that stress-induced illnesses such as heart attacks see a notable rise around the festive season.

According to a survey of 1,000 women by the fashion brand Wallis, published in the Huffington Post it looks as if we women still take the lion (or lioness’) share of the preparation work.

The study says that the average UK woman will spend 23 hours on Christmas chores ahead of the big day this December. Additional things on our already long ‘to do’ lists include

  • Cooking – five hours
  • Cleaning – five hours
  • Shopping – a whopping nine hours
  • Driving friends and family around – four hours.

Almost a third of women (31%) will spend up to six hours preparing for the big day itself, followed by a further six hours cooking and preparing the dinner on Christmas day.

Having to find more time to do things is not the only worry around this time of year. In the survey almost half (48%) said that worry about finances was the main cause of stress.

Finding Time to De-Stress

With all that pressure on both our time and our wallets at this time of year, it can be harder than ever to find ways to cope with it all.

Luckily there are some free or low-cost things you can do to help reduce that horrible feeling of pressure and anxiety, and start to put you in the right frame of mind to love Christmas, instead of loathing all the work it causes.

Try a Mindfulness App

Free or low-cost apps such as Calm on your phone can give you a focus to help clear your mind when you have just a few minutes to yourself. The gentle sounds and soothing imagery help you to relax, or you can use one of the meditation programmes to help manage stress.

Keep Track Of The Money

Whether your Christmas budget is huge or tiny, once you have decided what you can afford to spend on Christmas food, presents and decorations, you need to stick to it. It is very tempting to just have a last splurge on that extra box of crackers or a second gift for Auntie Ann, but ask yourself whether it’s really necessary. Sign up to alerts from your bank so that you know when you are getting near to your spending limit to help you stay strong and cut back on the spending.

Stay Hydrated

With all the rushing around we do at Christmas, it is really easy to forget to drink enough water. If you’re off for a shop-a-thon or a long lunch with the girls, take a collapsible water bottle with you that you can use to keep sipping water while you’re out. And once it’s empty, just squash it down and pop it in your handbag ready for the next trip.

Set Boundaries For Family

A common source of Christmas stress is our nearest and dearest. When you usually only see people for a few hours during the year, spending long periods of time closeted up with your in-laws, uncles and oldies can be very stressful indeed. Be very clear how long people are invited for – for most people, three days is plenty, but if this means that your home is bursting at the seams, then keep it short and sweet.

Plan ahead to make sure that there are tasks that other members of the family can help with and make sure that you are not all closeted up in one room for too long at one stretch – can you get out for a work, or visit a local cafe for a cuppa instead of just staying at home?

Give Yourself a Break

However you celebrate Christmas, it is a time when above else, you need to be kind to yourself as well as others. Some people find that St John’s Wort herb is a useful traditional remedy for taking the edge off mild anxiety and stress, helping you to feel more like yourself again and better able to cope with the invariable niggles and annoyances that the holiday season brings.

To find out more about HRI Good Mood St John’s Wort, please visit our product information page. As with any medicine, always read the patient information leaflet before taking the tablets. St John’s Wort herb is not recommended if you use the contraceptive pill or other hormonal contraceptives.