Five ways to stop the stress getting to you in the lead up to Christmas

The days leading up to Christmas involve a flurry of activity, excitement and, if we’re lucky, snow.

But the festive season often attracts an unwanted guest – stress. One in ten Brits struggles to cope, according to mental health charity Mind.

With gifts to buy, family to entertain and money worries, stress can soar, bringing physical and emotional symptoms as well as changes in your behaviour.

You might suffer headaches , dizziness, high blood pressure , tummy trouble, sexual problems, muscle tension or pain. You may also find it hard to concentrate or feel overwhelmed.

Here are five ways to stop festive stress getting to you.

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Ditch perfection

There can be an overwhelming expectation that every minute should be a special time, with unrealistic ideals making you feel everything has to be just so.

Let go of perfectionism and accept you can’t do it all.

Try to be ­flexible with your expectations of yourself, others and Christmas itself.


Overspending and dreading January’s credit card bills increases pressure.

Help take the strain off your pocket and mental health by setting realistic budgets for everything from presents to food and decor.

Talk to your loved ones about your financial worries and you’ll probably find many are in the same boat. Consider Secret Santa gift swapping and, in larger families, buying only for the children.

Shop, don’t drop

Christmas shopping can ­consume too much of our time and head space.

Ann Heathcote, of the Worsley Centre for Psychotherapy and Counselling, says ­endless scrolling to find the perfect gift can ­trigger stress, resulting in physical symptoms such as high blood pressure.

Don’t spend too much time internet shopping as this often leads to hours of browsing with minimal return.

Instead write a list of names you need to buy for and brainstorm things they like, to help you visualise their interests and inspire well-matched gifts.

Then you will be ready to look in store or online.

Accept help

You may experience an ­exaggerated feeling of ­responsibility in the festive ­season, with women often doing the lion’s share of tasks. Don’t cater to the whole ­family’s needs on your own.

Share out jobs. Lighten your load wherever you can so you don’t end up burning out. There’s also no shame in buying the same gift for multiple people.


Remember, nothing is an emergency when it comes to celeb­rating Christmas. Nothing will spoil your day unless you allow it to because it is, ­after all, only 24 hours of your life.

Stop and breathe ­whenever stress threatens to overwhelm you and remember what Christmas is truly about.

All those snowy, twinkling Christmas pictures you see on social media are just one ­posed-up moment, captured in glorious high definition.

Remember real life is a roller coaster of good and bad.

Comparing your Christmas to everybody else’s best experiences can be ­emotionally ­draining.

Switch off from social media if you need to and focus on your own family.

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