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The pressure to create the perfect Christmas can make you feel incredibly stressed. If you enjoy making your own Christmas cards, decorations, wrapping paper, gifts for friends and relatives, go ahead. But don’t think you have to do all these things just because someone on TV is doing it or all the magazines present the perfect Christmas images on their pages! If you approach Christmas with a feeling of dread, this will stay with you and make you feel worse. So decide to celebrate the high points and accept the low points, coping as best as you can with the people and situations that drive you mad. Remember it is only for a few days each year.
Less is more, so only focus the things you like doing for your Christmas preparations and let the other stuff go. No one expects you to be perfect and everyone will have a wonderful time whatever you do.
So little time and so much to do, this is often my mantra at Christmas! Writing it down will help, present lists, food lists, seating plans, carol concerts and services, etc. Ticking each item off as you complete them will feel extremely satisfying and enable you to keep abreast of what is left to do and stay in control. You don’t even have to write it down, just pop it into your phone for handy reminder texts near or on the day.
You probably can’t remember the gifts you received a few years ago but can remember precious Christmas memories from your childhood. I have many lovely Christmas memories like having hot rolls with butter on Christmas morning and my dad peeling piles of Brussels sprouts on Christmas Eve.
I have created several memories for my own children, such as having new pyjamas on Christmas Eve and leaving food for the reindeer as well as Father Christmas. We used to leave special oats mixed with magic glitter so the reindeer could see them sparkling in our garden from the sky. I have 3 teenagers who still make a lists and puts them on the fire to go up the chimney, they also love the advent calendar with pockets that I stuff with chocolate treats.
Indigestion is a common problem over the Christmas period with all the indulgent food we consume. Avoid mindless eating: the average weight gain over Christmas is 5lbs. Don’t constantly graze on the buffet, try to sit down to eat and eat slowly, enjoying every mouthful. Cover food with cling film or foil in the fridge to avoid picking at it each time you open the fridge door. Try to eat several pieces of fruit, a salad and some raw vegetables to prevent you feeling overfed but undernourished after eating rich food combined with alcohol.
Be mindful of how much you are drinking. When tempers begin to fray during the Christmas period, it is often caused by drinking too much alcohol. People are thrown together in confined spaces for longer periods of time and there is more opportunity to annoy each other.
Drinking also impacts upon your sleep and sex life too.
Enjoy all the sensual Christmas smells at this time of year. If you have a real Christmas tree, keep it watered to avoid the needles dropping and to keep it in good condition. The beautiful pine smell can invoke memories of Christmas past and long walks in the woods.
If you don’t have a real tree, put a few drops of pine tree essentials oil into a saucer with water and place on a warm radiator to diffuse the aroma of pine or burn a scented candle. The pine fragrance will create the perfect Christmas atmosphere and help to de-congest your airways, especially if you don’t have time to take a walk in the fresh air.
Give your relatives or friends something to do rather than saying “I’m fine” and stomp about the kitchen slamming doors when everyone is socialising and having fun. Get everyone to pick a chore out of a hat or ask them to bring a favourite dish to add to the meal. The more people help, the quicker things will get done and the more time you will all have to enjoy the festivities.
If you do feel you are becoming stressed, escape to the garden for 10 minutes to fill the bird feeder, walk around the block to see a friend or post a last minute card.
Get out for a walk even if it is only for 15 minutes to get some exercise and clear your head.
Tell your family, friends or guests that you are having a soak in the bath for 30 minutes, taking a walk or just lying on your bed reading a book. Use your bath to de stress by adding a few drops of lavender, geranium or ylang ylang to help to ease away those aches and pains and niggling tension pains.
You can even indulge in some “me” time and have an orgasm, perhaps use a fabulous waterproof sex toy, a great way to unwind and relax!
Take deep breaths to stay calm, count to ten and relax. Ease away tension headaches by closing your eyes and breathe regularly for two minutes gradually releasing tension in your upper body. Press your middle fingers on each hand into the dip either side of your nose, breathe slowly pressing into the grooves for a few seconds. This technique is excellent for clearing your mind, refreshing the eyes and banishing headaches.
Late nights not only make you feel tired but also increase stress levels making it harder to relax and stay calm. Try to go to bed early at least once over the Christmas period to boost your sleep but before retiring, why not indulge in some great sex or self pleasure?. Orgasms really help you to sleep better.
With a house full of guests, finding time to be intimate with your partner can be tricky so ensure you both enjoy some extra Christmas spice. Indulge in early morning sex to get you going for the day ahead or make time for quickie sex to keep you going until bedtime, such a naughty and nice way to reduce stress and put a smile on your face, especially when no one know what you’ve both been up to!
No time for sex, try flirting with your partner throughout the day or across the room at that party- who knows what it might lead to!
Most of all, try to stay calm and remember what really matters at the end of the day, it’s not the table decorations, the gifts or the food people will remember, it is the conversation, the laughter and being together and all those wonderful memories they create.