HEALTH experts in Torbay have issued the top 10 tips to avoid getting stressed over the Christmas and New Year.
The annual season of gorging and bingeing is for many accompanied by rising levels of tension in the household.
Whether it is cooking enough sprouts (or too many) or simply spending extended amounts of time with the family, Christmas can bring unnecessary strains and pressures.
And it does not go away once the 12 days of Christmas are over because people often make unrealistic resolutions for the New Year.
According to Paul Sheward, Healthy Lifestyles team manager for the Torbay and Southern Devon Health and Care NHS Trust, the most important thing is to manage expectations before things get out of hand.
He says: “I love Christmas and even started putting my decorations up in the second week of November. But although it’s Christmas don’t expect miracles. Be realistic in your expectations.
“If you and certain family members bicker all year long, you can be sure there will be tension at Christmas time, especially with excited little ones and money worries so don’t add unnecessary pressures.”
So here are his tips for a stress free and hopefully a very happy Christmas and New Year.
1 Avoid known triggers:
Every family has a number of topics which cause arguments. Avoid them if possible. Use distraction and quickly move on to something else to talk about.
2 Keep the little ones busy:
Christmas is for the dear little ones but sometimes it is better to get of the house. Plan activities like going for a walk. Go to the park or play area to help burn off energy.
3 Self-monitor and have a plan of escape:
If you feel your anxiety levels starting to rise catch it early and take steps to reduce it before it gets higher. Use relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or focusing on your breath to cope with anxiety or tension.
4 Don’t break the bank:
With money being tight don’t fall into the trap of buying more food than you need. Masses of excess Christmas food are thrown away each year, so think about what you actually need rather than what you think you want.
5 Try to be moderate:
It may be the season to be jolly but too much food and alcohol is harmful.
6 Get enough sleep. Plan for as many early nights as you can.
7 Keep moving:
Keeping up a regular exercise routine can give you fitness and stamina to make it through the demands of the festive season.
8 Time your New Year’s resolution right:
January 1 is just another day in the year so if the timing isn’t right for you plan a day that suits but stick to it.
9 Do your research:
Don’t just focus on what it is (for example losing weight) focus on how. What are your options? Self help, online apps and resources, signing up to a group or seeking specialist support.
10 Learn from past experiences:
We’re very good at repeating the same mistakes but somehow expecting different results. If you have tried and failed previously then mix it up, try something new and if you are unsure get expect advice and information.