Despite its intention as a season of warmth, cheer and relaxation, Christmas is often an incredibly stressful time for many people. December seems to shoot by in the blink of an eye, and between the numerous social commitments, gift lists and family planning, there’s barely time to breathe. There’s also the cold weather to contend with; as winter sets in and the days get shorter, there’s always the increased risk of catching a cold or flu and being bed-bound for a few days. But the decreasing temperature is only one side of it. The mounting Christmas stress can play a major part in debilitating our immune systems. So in between the mulled wine liaisons and frantic online shopping, leave a little time to take care of yourself – your body will thank you.
But how exactly do you do this efficiently? What are the best methods to stay stress-free this Christmas season? Well, the first tip is always to plan appropriately. Online shopping is usually reliable, but shipping can go amiss now and again. Your best bet is to start as early as you can. Same with Christmas cards, if you’re the type who likes to send them out; stockpile a load of them in November, then clear half a day to blitz through them all in one go. This will save you numerous trips back and forth to the post office/letterbox, and will also feel like a load off your mind. This is also the best bet if you’re in charge when it comes to preparing food. The much-anticipated Christmas dinner is usually the highlight of the day for many people, but it can also be a significant source of stress for those tasked with producing it. Planning ahead on all fronts will relieve the potential build-up of stress in your mind as the 25th draws closer.
On that same note, getting enough quality rest is crucial. Many of us are chronically sleep-deprived, and the gap inevitably increases as the festive season ramps up. Try to aim for about seven to nine solid hours per night. Planning ahead will help keep your mind from racing as you put your head down, a factor that keeps many of us awake for long periods before we eventually nod off. Getting the required healthy amount of sleep will reduce the pressure on your immune system, so even if you can’t help that little bit of Christmas stress slipping through the cracks, you’ll be in a better position to defend against it.
Our sleep can also be disturbed by increased amounts of rich foods and alcohol – things Christmas is rife with. On top of that, we’re largely reluctant to go outside much in the winter, so our physical activity on a whole is usually in the decline. The food and drink we consume can certainly contribute to our stress levels, so it’s important to keep an eye on your diet over the festive period, making sure you balance out all those less-healthy snacks and treats with some nutritious anti-oxidising options. Foods like salmon, nuts, spinach, broccoli, oranges and satsumas are all great options to boost your immune system and keep you regulated, and they’re easy to fit into the standard Christmas culinary fare. It is, of course, a time to eat and be merry, but it’s always prudent to keep an eye on what you’re putting in your body. ‘Everything in moderation’ should be the motto here.
If you feel like some extra resistance to the Christmas season, you can strengthen your immune system and energy levels with natural supplements. These can be a great addition to a healthy diet, allowing you to do more and not feel as drained as you might otherwise have. But while Christmas is potentially stressful for everyone, for those of us with chronic diseases, it can be downright debilitating. For these patients who face an ongoing battle with their specific condition, Make Well provide a great line-up of all-natural supplements; in particular, Energy Plus can be just the right addition to your Christmas routine, if you’re worried a chronic disease might take the joy out of it. Energy Plus is geared toward patients with chronic diseases such as Lyme, supporting their treatment and providing them a chance to get the most out of their holidays. If you would like to find out more about the ingredients in Energy Plus, and why it’s beneficial for your body, then check out an extensive rundown here.
A final tip for the holiday season: try a few minutes or so of meditation every day. You don’t have to put too much thought into it – even ten minutes of focusing on deep breathing can have a remarkable effect on your stress levels. Practise just before you go to bed for maximum results, as it can also help calm your mind, preparing you for a solid night’s rest before all the Christmas fun kicks off again in the morning!