How to cut out the stress this Christmas

by Bonnie

We've just under seven weeks to go and already the shops are full of blaring godawful festive music, there are supermarket ads on TV brandishing golden turkeys at us and the red mist is threatening to descend if one more friend starts boasting about how they finished all their Christmas shopping in August.



We've just under seven weeks to go and already the shops are full of blaring godawful festive music, there are supermarket ads on TV brandishing golden turkeys at us and the red mist is threatening to descend if one more friend starts boasting about how they finished all their Christmas shopping in August.

So how do you fight the stress in the run up to the holidays and prevent the familiar twitch of your eye as you thread your way through the crowds in town, all of whom appear to be making their way to the same shops you want to visit?

Neil Shah, director of the Stress Management Society, advocates making lists.

"Write out your list of things to do, then strike through the tasks that are neither urgent nor essential. Look at what's left and see what you could delegate; for example, give someone responsibility for buying and putting up decorations – your 'to do' list will instantly shrink," he promises.

"Decide now when you will stop preparing and start enjoying. Christmas Eve is a good time to put your feet up and admire your handiwork. If you work towards a goal, you are more likely to stick to it."

And when it comes to the Christmas dinner, why not just cut out the bits that no-one likes? There's no such thing as the Tradition Police to knock on your door after receiving a tip-off that you're not serving sprouts this year.

"If cooking stresses you out, book for Christmas dinner at a hotel or restaurant and let someone else take the strain. Not only does this cut out menu planning, and food preparation, but it also means you don't have to do the washing up," Mr Shah points out.

Above all, just remember it's one day of the year. Just one little 24-hour period to get through before it's over for another year.

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