Christmas is one of the most stressful times of the year, and some rate more stressful than a divorce! The factors are many, from financial to simply not knowing how you are going to get it all done. The impact on your body and mind can be felt long after the lights are switched off, and the tree is down.

When we are feeling stressed, we tend to hunch our shoulders. Our minds whirr, sleep becomes interrupted and difficult, and a feeling of panic hangs over us. This can result in headaches and shoulder, neck and back pain. And we become more susceptible to colds as our immune system can also be affected.

So how do you leap into Christmas with a smile? Here are our top tips for a stress-free Christmas.

– Before going to bed write down all that is bothering you, needs doing or is just running around in your head. It will help you to get a better night’s sleep, as the list will be there in the morning.

– Start a new morning routine. Forget jumping out of bed. Raise yourself up slowly and take a few deep breaths.

Exercise really does help the mind. So, don’t get out of the routine if you have one, and if you don’t, why not take a brisk walk at lunchtime?

– Ask for help – you can’t and don’t have to do it all! This is aimed at the women reading this. We tend to think everything is our responsibility, and quite frankly, it’s not! If you have family coming around, ask someone to do the puddings, prepare the veg or bring the cheese and biscuits. Share the jobs!

– While we are huge advocates of shopping locally, it might be easier and help to reduce stress by ordering online, from presents to food, delivered to your door.

– Don’t put off tasks. If your Christmas cards need writing, do them one evening while watching the television, although much better for your posture and back at a table.

– Lists are essential, and if you are not a list writer, now is the time to start. Grab a piece of paper and write everything down. Keep adding to it and crossing off those jobs you have done.

– Remember, it’s okay to say NO. Women find this particularly hard. But; saying no is empowering and essential to not overdoing it this December. You don’t have to accept every invite or help every neighbour in the street – certainly not at the expense of your own sanity.

– Avoid excessive drinking of alcohol during the month – it does not help you sleep and hangovers are not helpful to getting your to do list done.

– Most importantly, take time out for yourself to relax. Often the one time of the year when you really can shut down. Have fun!!

Take time out for yourself and book a massage. Let us disperse those knots, allowing you to begin the month with a fluid body ready to tackle the Christmas preparations. Or why not ask for a voucher from Father Christmas and come see us in January!!

Sarum Physiotherapy Centre

Telephone: 01722 415 055