Christmas: Stress Less Tips

Hosting Christmas doesn’t have to be stressful – follow our tips for a relaxing season

Christmas is a time to spend with family, catching up and having fun, but it can end up feeling more stressful than anything, particularly ~if we’re hosting everyone. A survey by Rescue Remedy has revealed the festive niggles that threaten to ruin the fun – and while 65 percent of us struggle with buying presents, 16 percent feel concerned about the cooking that needs to be done and 10 percent about hosting all the family. It’s particularly a problem for women, with the Ipsos MORI’s Political Monitor showing that 27 percent of us feel stressed about our festive preparations, in contrast to just 14 percent of men. So, if you’re not ready for the upcoming celebrations, we’re here to help. We don’t think it has to be stressful, so we’ve gathered some easy ways to help you prepare and look after yourself, too, so you can make this Christmas your best one, yet.

Help yourself

Prioritise sleep

“We tend to burn the candle at both ends over the season and we rarely get a minute to ourselves, let alone a good night’s sleep,” says Phil Lawlor, sleep expert at Dormeo ( “We can become stressed out more easily when we’re sleep-deprived, so aim for a solid seven to nine hours of shut-eye a night. Try to make space in your schedule for an early night at least three times a week.”

Learn to say no

“Don’t do too much,” advises Dr Riccardo Di Cuffa, GP and founder at Your Doctor ( “In December, we often try to cram in as many activities as possible to make sure that everyone has a lovely time. Instead, this year try to slow down, prioritise so you don’t overdo things, reduce your stress levels and get a good amount of sleep every night. It’s important to maintain your body’s routine.”

Try to keep calm

If you find yourself getting stressed, find somewhere you won’t be disturbed and try this simple breathing technique from Neil Shah, chief de-stresser at the Stress Management Society, to help you relax:

  • Sit or stand in a relaxed position
  • Slowly inhale through your nose, counting to five
  • Let the air out from your mouth, counting to eight
  • Repeat this several times

We asked our cover star, Nadiya Hussain, for her top Christmas tip…

“I use my freezer! I brine the turkey for a week in advance in the garage, so it will get really moist and will be seasoned all the way through – I never have a dry turkey. Things like the halal pigs in blankets we make and stick in the freezer, as will the sprouts after we’ve part-cooked them. I also make the roast potatoes beforehand and freeze them. So literally everything just needs reheating – even the gravy gets made, put in Tupperware and frozen – so it’s really easy. My top tip is to do it all a week in advance, then you can chill out throughout Christmas.

Get everything, make it and freeze it. Make sure you’ve got enough space in your freezer though! That’s what I have to do beforehand – I make sure we’ve eaten everything so there’s room. Everyone will turn up on the day and be like ‘wow, you’re so clever, how are you not flustered?’ and it’ll be because it all came out of your freezer!”

Health & Wellbeing