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Christmas can be a wonderful time with the family but for many. It can also be a time fraught with stress conflict and anxiety.

It is very rare that families spend so much concentrated time in each other’s company. Normally this time is broken up by work, school hobbies, and other activities. Yet come Christmas you may be spending days in each other’s company without respite. This can be a challenge for the best of families.

Christmas can feel full of obligations. If you expect to find the holidays particularly stressful or traumatic ask yourself whether you really have to make this sacrifice. Perhaps it’s ok to choose another way.

To try and help you get the most from your time together I have drawn up my top 6 tips for surviving the holidays.

Be mindful of what you eat and drink

Ok, yes, it is Christmas, so you are going to overindulge in food and alcohol. All I ask is that you remain mindful of your intake. Both food and drink can have an extremely negative effect on our emotional state, especially when taken in excess. If you are honest you know your diet will be full of chocolates and junk food just designed to leave us feeling bloated and lethargic. Take some small steps to counteract potential problems. Drinking plenty of water and eating plenty of fruit and vegetables will help you survive the holidays in better shape

Take time outside

Reconnecting with nature is great for mental health and will help burn off those excess calories. Perhaps go for a short walk before lunch. It will build your appetite and boost your mood. One of my traditions is an early morning run. It sets me up amazingly for the day ahead with the added benefit of allowing me to feel really smug!

Ask for help

That Christmas dinner might taste amazing but it also takes a lot of effort. If you begin to feel that you are taking all the strain don’t let that feeling fester and build towards an angry outburst. Ask for help. This should be a time of sharing.

Expect there to be some chaos!

People often respond badly to the forced jollity of Christmas. Expectations are high and everyone around seems to be wearing a smile and wanting us to be happy as well. Expect that some things won’t go to plan and I am sure you won’t be disappointed!! Plan an exit strategy if things get really bad.

Take time for yourself

If things are getting on top of you take some time for yourself. This may be simple as finding a minute to take 6 deep, mindful breaths to reconnect with yourself. Alternatively, you may need to spend some time listening to music or reading a book.

Know that this too shall pass

It might seem like forever but it will soon be over and you can get back to living your normal life. Whatever you choose to do this festive period I hope you and your loved ones have a very happy time

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