Each year, it gets bigger, brighter, louder and more extravagant, but for some, Christmas isn't always considered the most wonderful time of the year! In fact, for many, Christmas can cause worry, stress and anxiety, with Samaritans reporting a huge increase in phone calls during the festive period.
In order to reduce your Christmas stress, think RUDOLPH!
Relationships! It's the time of year that brings everybody together, but with family gatherings can come arguments. It is worth accepting that there may be squabbles, whether it's over what to watch on telly or who drank the last of the sherry! Try to avoid causes of conflict. Steer clear of conversations that create tension, like the time Aunt Sally forgot to buy Nan a present in 1992!
Unconditional kindness! Help spread the Christmas cheer; random acts of kindness will not only bring joy to others, but will also make you feel good. Try to be grateful and happy, even if you get naf presents.
Delegate and share! Don't try and do everything yourself! Feeling like you've got 101 jobs to do can be extremely stressful, so give everyone something to do. Remember that sharing is caring, don't eat the whole tub of quality streets to yourself! Share the gift experience; things that you receive may also interest others. Remind the children to "let others have a go". Sharing toys and playing games is a great way of bringing people together.
Organise! Christmas can be a daunting prospect, with endless things to do. Preparation is the key to reducing anxiety. Buy presents and wrap them in advance. To avoid panic on the big day, create a schedule, for example what time family will be arriving and when the food needs to be cooked etc. Structuring the day slightly will help you feel more in control and ease with the overall running of the day! Plan an escape if things get too much, such as taking the dog for a walk. Christmas can be rather overwhelming, so take five minutes to get some fresh air and compose yourself!
Limits! Unlike Father Christmas, there is only so much you can do! It is easy to get carried away, buying too many presents, or, going over the top with the decorations, so it's important to know when to stop. Avoid the temptation to do or buy more, don't take laptops, tablets or other devices that enable you to internet shop, to bed, and make sure to sleep. Create a checklist of things that need to be done, and stick to it. Allow time for yourself to enjoy the day, you shouldn't always be busy!
Perfection! Remember that nobody is perfect and you may not always get it right. Whether the turkey is slightly over done, or you bought the wrong size slippers, it doesn't matter! It's the thought that counts!
Happiness! Have fun, that's what Christmas is all about! Try to put worries to the back of your mind. If it helps, write down the things that are bothering you and deal with them another day. Try to relax and be merry! If you are going to drink, do it wisely, there's no harm in enjoying a mince pie or 12 though!
Co-written by Tara Quinney and Katie Buckingham