Have you started Christmas shopping? There’s the need to get it all out of the way, worrying about the additional cost at an expensive time of year, trying to decide what to buy for awkward relatives . . . isn’t it stressful?

The Christmas parties are rolling in now as well. Dinner with friends, a few drinks with work, buffets with networking groups and tubs of sweets scattered around the office. When we’re squeezing in the end of year work into a few less weeks and trying to get all the additional festive chores out of the way, eating becomes a pick-and-go habit.

It’s also a time of year that focuses on family – and that can pile on the pressure as well. No wonder there are plenty of jokes focused on the annual family row. There’s the difficult relatives, over-excited children and, often, the sadness of noting family who are no longer with us.

It’s no wonder that by the end of December we can feel wrung out. So much added stress on our minds and bodies impacts our immune system. Your annual winter cold may not just be due to the weather, but also the impact of Christmas stress on your body.

Gentle ways to de-stress over Christmas

The good news is that there is plenty you can do to minimalise the impact over December, and start January feeling a little more lively than usual.

– Start planning your Christmas early. Make lists of shopping, presents and must do tasks.
– Delegate. Give your partner some of the shopping to do. Have the children help tidy the house or put up the decorations.
– Prepare as much food as you can in advance and fill the freezer – including freezing meals for dinner in the weeks leading up to Christmas, when you’re just too tired to cook.
– Decide which traditions you just don’t need to bother with. Do you really need to send Christmas cards to everyone you know? Why not strip the list down to the necessary few, and donate the stamp money to charity instead.
– Take a little time out for yourself, and enjoy one of my Christmas packages. A facial, scalp massage and muscle ease treatment (all 3 for just £55) is the perfect way to get some relaxation in the midst of the Christmas cram.

Alternative therapies are great for stress-busting as well – and also can make good Christmas gifts, saving you time on your shopping.

Try some Neal’s Yard essential oils. Burn some lavender oil to sooth your nerves, or fill the room with Majoram for emotional calm. A small amount of aromatherapy will help your stress levels, and then you can pass on the peace with some Jasmine and Ylang Ylang shower gel as the perfect present for the other stressed adults in your life.

Another great present idea – why not treat family and friends to a gift voucher? They can book into their treatment in the new year and ease the tension of the return to work with a little pick-me-up.

Don’t let stress get the best of your health this Christmas. Visit my website for details on Christmas packages, gift vouchers and stocking fillers.