With an increase in social gatherings, expectations building, and the pressure of giving presents that people will love, it’s no wonder this time of year often results in a build up of tension, which can lead to arguments, anxiety and agoraphobia.

I’ve collated a few top tips below which should help you get through this time – or any stressful time – with more calmness and inner peace, so you can enjoy your time as much as you choose.

  1. Go easy on yourself. Don’t try to get everything right, or to be anyone you’re not. If you don’t feel up to socialising, that’s fine. People will understand, and your well-being is the most important thing. Do what feels right for you, and let go of the pressure to meet other people’s expectations.
  2. Take time for yourself. Even if it’s just 5 minutes at a time, make sure you take regular breaks to check in with yourself and notice how you’re feeling. If you can meditate, this can be a perfect way of switching off from the external stresses, and connecting with your inner calmness. Alternatively, you might simply decide to spend time journaling or relaxing on your own.
  3. Breathe. And breathe again. Count to 7 as you, and 8 as you exhale. This will automatically slow your heart rate, which will reduce the production of stress hormones in your body and make you feel less stressed. Breathing is our natural balancing mechanism.
  4. If it feels difficult to breathe, or if you can’t focus on your breath easily, then slowly count your fingers and focus all of your attention on your hands. This brings your awareness away from spiralling thoughts and allows your mind to relax. If you’re having real difficulty breathing, call for medical help or consult a doctor.
  5. Play calming music. It’s a good idea to have a playlist ready, which you can use to relax yourself whenever you feel stressed or anxious. There are plenty of playlists available on YouTube or Amazon music which can help.
  6. Exercise your body. Stress can cause a build-up of adrenaline and cortisol, so you may find that physical exercise helps to release the tension in your muscles and tendons. Plus, exercise gives you a boost of energy and endorphins, which automatically increase your mood, as an added bonus.
  7. Drink more water. It’s easy to become dehydrated at this time of year, as we use the central heating and spend more time indoors. This can cause us to feel tired, headachy and irritable, which increases the feeling of stress. By drinking at least one to two litres of water per day, you’ll find your thinking gets clearer, and you’ll be able to deal with stressful situations in a more relaxed way.
  8. Get out into nature. Being stuck inside for long periods makes most people feel more anxious, and so the more you can get outside, the more relaxed you’ll feel. Why not take the whole family out for a walk in the crisp fresh air, or head off into the woods on your own for some peace and quiet. Nature is one of the best stress relievers available, and it can be combined with exercise for a double benefit.
  9. Do what lifts you up. Whatever raises your positive energy, whether it’s singing, playing, drawing, dancing round the house in your underwear… Remember that you’re the one in control of your own energy, and you can choose your own mood if you decide to. No matter how “silly” it feels, if it puts a smile on your face, then it’s worth doing. Everyone’s different, and everyone’s got their “happy thing”. What’s yours?
  10. Talk about your feelings. Find someone you can trust, and let them know whenever you feel stressed or anxious. Sometimes simply having someone to listen to us is enough to take the anxiety away. There are lots of people out there who are trained to listen and support you confidentially, if you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone who knows you. Organisations in the UK who offer this service include the Samaritans, who can be contacted on 116 123.

As a trained hypnotherapist and mindfulness coach, I’m passionate about helping people feel as good as possible about themselves and their lives.

If you’re feeling stressed right now, or you’d like to improve some area of your life, you can get in touch with me on 07813336080.

I’m always here to listen, and I also offer tailored relaxation hypnotherapy which has has amazing results for people who want to feel more relaxed and in control of their life.

I hope you’ve found these tips useful; I’d love to hear which ones have particularly stood out for you, and which you’ll be putting into practice. Let me know in the comments.

Also, if you know anyone who would benefit from these tips, I’d be grateful if you could share this article with them, too.

I hope you have a fantastic, relaxing and mindful holiday season!