With the Christmas holiday fast approaching we are busier than ever. The lead up to Christmas can be an emotional roller coaster. Already, the nights are darker, it’s cold and flu season and we’ve a million and one things to do. We are eating more, drinking more alcohol and the office party is looming. There are hosts of parties, family traditions and all that shopping but for most of us it’s the most wonderful time of the year. In saying this, likewise, there are some people who rate Christmas as being more stressful than divorce or being burgled.

Question is, just how do you do less and enjoy it more during the Christmas holiday season?

Most recently, it has been suggested that those who choose to adorn their Christmas decorations early are indeed much happier people. It appears that the more organised we become, the less stress we encounter.

Our top ten tips to make it to the big day

1. Plan – Start by making a list of the things you need to for Christmas early; for example, shopping, food and presents, decorations, seating plans or travel arrangements.

2. Shop online – Although shopping locally has many advantages, the High Street is very busy with German inspired markets, can be cold and wet and several hundreds of similarly stressed people all looking for the perfect gift.

3. Christmas card writing – If you still find yourself sending cards write a few each day to reduce the stress. Even better, donate the money you would have spent on cards to a charity and let all your friends and family know by e-mail. Better still, give someone a call, it might make their day.

4. Set yourself a target – Know when to stop, it’s your holiday too, plan to get everything done by a certain date, even if this is Christmas Eve and stick to it. You need to have some fun as well.

5. Avoid excessive alcohol – Most de-stressing articles will tell you to avoid alcohol altogether but, let’s be realistic, it is Christmas! However, do avoid excessive alcohol as it dehydrates your body and makes your liver work overtime to process it. Drink as much water or juice as alcohol as this will help you to stay hydrated, feel better and therefore cope better with stressful situations. You’ll also feel better on Boxing Day.

6. Staying calm – Often easier said than done. Play your favourite music, go for a long walk or do whatever calms you down. Light some candles and aim to relax, you will get through this!

7. Try and fit in some exercise – Yes, there are lots of festive films that we simply must watch but going out into the fresh air can reduce or stress levels at this time of year. It also provides a healthy escape route if you find yourself wanting some space.

8. It’s nice to be nice – We may have to spend time with people that we wouldn’t usually do, aim to rise above it, it only happens once a year, go with the flow and smile.

9. Do your food prep! – Do what you can before the big day, including the essentials of, will the turkey fit in the oven? Is there an alternative option for our vegetarian guest? Is all the crockery dishwasher safe?

10. Most importantly, have fun! – Remember it’s your Christmas too so try to relax and have fun, laugh and be merry. If you do find others around you difficult then try to rise above the situation. If things don’t go to plan try not to worry too much, instead laugh at about them and make them into fun memories that you can talk about during Christmases to come.

More importantly – be mindful!

Respect that we live in a multi-cultural society and not everyone is celebrating right now. There are others in the world who are less fortunate and do not sign up for the commercialised celebration that we are succumbed to. Be kind, we have an ever-growing rate of homelessness in the UK, buy someone a sandwich, a hot drink or simply give them a smile.

This year GB Training has supported Operation Christmas Child by sending shoe boxes of gifts to their appeal.

GB Training would like to wish all our customers, learners and friends and very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.