The festive period is supposed to be a time of joy and celebration, but for many it is filled with stress and anxiety. Financial pressure, office parties, reminders of lost loved ones and even just the busyness of the season, can all take the merriment away. So, here are five tips to help you deal with stress throughout the holiday season, and beyond.

Don’t forget to look after yourself

The season can often bring extra social commitments, long lists of things to do, as well as a lot of delicious food and drink, so it’s no wonder that many people’s good intentions go by the wayside. Overindulging once in a while is fine, but remember that eating healthily, sleeping well, limiting your intake of alcohol and exercising regularly, all contribute to improving your psychological – as well as your physical – health. You could even try some of these healthy Christmas recipes.

Take control

Try to be aware of what is behind any stress you are feeling and eliminate the source if you can. If the thought of the office Christmas party fills you with dread, don’t go. Maybe make time to see the people you have special relationships with at other times over the festive season instead. If trying to find a particular gift is stressing you out, get them something else or give them an IOU. If the idea of cooking for all the family is sending you into a frenzy, take the pressure of yourself by looking for short cuts or even booking a restaurant. Taking control over what you are finding stressful, will hopefully mean that you can relax and enjoy the holidays too.

Manage your expectations

Whether you instantly think that this time of year is going to be excruciating, or you build it all up in your mind so much that you end up feeling unsatisfied after the event, you create barriers that will stop you experiencing the festivities in a positive light. Don’t focus on what the holidays should be like, or assume it will be like previous years. Instead try to savour situations as they occur, purposely notice the positives in everything that happens and take the time to appreciate them all.

Book in time out

With presents to buy, relatives to visit, parties to go to and decorations to put up, the festive season can be a really busy time. To combat the effects of all this rushing around and the stress it brings, make sure you build time to relax and enjoy yourself into your hectic schedule. Why not plan time to do something fun that you enjoy, spend time with your friends or just relax and do nothing at all? You will feel so much better afterwards, and will be more productive tackling the things that need to get done.

Use your support system

Positive relationships can be instrumental in helping you through difficult times. They act as a buffer against stress, build positive emotions and can help you to analyse problems. It may feel like everyone is too busy with their own lives at this time of year, but a good friend will always be happy to provide support if you ask. Remember to delegate jobs where you can too. People often don’t help out because they think you have it under control or they don’t know what to do, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to.

We hope these tips help you all manage to make the festive season a time that works well for you. Let us know how you got on over on our Facebook page.