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7 Steps to a Calm Christmas

Feeling overwhelmed? Read our guide to ensuring the holidays are stress-free

7 Steps to a Calm Christmas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year... but it’s also one of the most stressful. Many of us set out with the best of intentions, telling ourselves that this year we won’t be run ragged! Inevitably, in-between all of the festivities, gift shopping, and cooking, we can find ourselves overwhelmed and with very little time to chill out. But it doesn’t have to be that way – after all, Christmas is a time to be merry. Here are seven ways to keep calm so that you can enjoy the season without the stress.

1. Change your perspective

The holiday season often involves spending lots of time with family, which can put a strain on your relationships, and add to your stress levels. Wellness expert and Juno skincare founder Julie Johanssen (Juno Skincare) suggests using mindfulness to help you find a bit of control: “Mindfulness helps you to control how you perceive what is going on around you; this is incredibly liberating.” There are several ways to use mindfulness to find an inner calm. If you find yourself in a stressful situation, one of the easiest and quickest techniques is to stop and focus on your breathing. Be sure you are taking normal inhalations and exhalations, so that you’re not breathing too rapidly. Take a bit of time to observe your thoughts, feelings and emotions, take time to bring awareness to them, then do something that will help you to support those emotions then and there, whether that’s giving yourself a shoulder rub, talking to a friend, or even just sitting quietly. Remember what Christmas is all about, too: “The festive season has become so commercialised,” Julie says. “People, including our kids, aren’t always going to remember what you gifted them last Christmas, but they will remember the quality time they spent with you.”

2. Find your inner calm

The festive period provides the perfect opportunity to declutter, Julie says. But we’re not talking about having a clear-out to make room for more gifts; rather, this is about decluttering your life for the benefit of your mental health: “Let go of anything that is not serving you,” Julie says. “This Christmas, I am planning to take some time for myself, and to set goals.” Julie also suggests creating a peaceful oasis in your own home. Creating a cosy, safe space will help you relax and clear your mind to quell any holiday-induced anxieties, and also makes for a more welcoming and comfortable space for visitors. Lighting a candle is a great way of bringing calmness into a space. Try B Loved’s The Balancer, made with soy wax and infused with a blend of geranium, bergamot, and patchouli (£20, blovedcandles.com).

7 Steps to a Calm Christmas

3. Take a break

In amongst all of the hustle and bustle of the festive period, it’s easy to be constantly switched on, dashing from one Christmas party to the next, and flitting between your tasks. But your health and wellbeing is likely to take a knock if you don’t take care of yourself. Try to set aside down-time each day where you aren’t thinking about your to-do list. Wellness expert Katie Light (The Light Technique) says: “We need to ensure that our bodies and minds get enough rest when we have a lot of social engagements to attend during the festive season. As your diaries are likely filling up already, make sure to book some time out to rest, and have a night-in every once in a while, allowing your body to repair itself. Have a relaxing bath, adding a few drops of some essential oils to help you sleep or wake up in the morning.” Try the Tisserand Total De-Stress Bath Oil (from £9.45, tisserand.com). You could also unwind by reading a book, going for a walk, or simply sitting with a cup of tea while catching up on your favourite Netflix series.

7 Steps to a Calm Christmas

4. Feed your body

In times of stress, it’s easy to reach for the coffee or sugary snacks, but try to save these for special occasions. That hit of caffeine or sugar rush may seem like it helps, but the high will only last a short time before it wears off and leaves you feeling down again. Instead, reach for decaffeinated coffee or tea, herbal teas and healthy snacks. It’s also important to feed your body to help it fight off illness: “Our bodies get depleted at this time of the year owing to the change in season and a busy work and social calendar, so it’s good to fuel your immune system with nutritious foods to guard against harmful viruses that thrive in the colder months,” Katie says. “Replenish your body with some immune-boosting shots or juices. You can also start your day with hot water and lemon to cleanse your system and awaken your senses.”

5. Take care of your skin

Stress can take its toll on your skin, which can lead to more stress, especially as party season is in full swing, when we all want to look our best. A good skincare routine can also help you feel more relaxed, refreshed, and energised. “If your skin is in need of an SOS, then feed it with a good-quality facial oil, and spend a few minutes every night gently massaging it into your face in an upward direction,” Katie advises. Try anatomē’s Avocado Night + Day Facial Oil (£38, anatome.co). “Also, consider carrying a facial mist that contains hyaluronic acid in your handbag. Use this to boost your skin and give you a radiant glow whenever you feel like you need waking up. If you’re feeling a little sluggish in the mornings, use a body brush in upwards strokes on the legs to help stimulate bloodflow.”

7 Steps to a Calm Christmas

6. Let off steam

If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, find a way to ease your anxieties. Bottling up stress can have a negative impact on your health, leading to issues like a weakened immune system, and muscle tension. Find a method of release that works for you – whether that’s singing and dancing to your favourite holiday hit (Wham! anyone?); going for a run; practising yoga; talking with a friend; or simply finding a quiet place to scream! Don’t underestimate sleep, either – a lack of it will make you feel irritable, and you’ll be more prone to stress. No matter how busy you feel, be sure to carve out enough hours to hit snooze and allow your body time to rest and recuperate. Finally, make sure you enjoy some fresh air: getting oxygen into your body will help you clear your head.

7. Have fun!

You may be stressed about making sure that everyone else enjoys their Christmas, and that everything is perfect, but remember that Christmas is your holiday, too! If it all gets too much, take deep breaths and think about what’s truly important. Soak up the spirit, enjoy good company, eat delicious food and drinks, and make memories. Most importantly, take time to appreciate the simple things: “We are so caught up in the craziness of life, that we don’t take time to just be grateful for what we already have,” Julie says. “You can’t always be pushing for more without being grateful for what you currently have, as this stops us from being happy right now. Being grateful for where you are right at this moment, and knowing that this is exactly where you need to be, can take the stress out of any situation.”

7 Steps to a Calm Christmas

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