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8 Tips for a Stress Free Christmas: Avoiding the Festive Frenzy*

December is nearly upon us and that can mean only one thing: festive stress is imminent. Avoiding Christmas anxiety can seem almost impossible but to help you out, I've compiled a list of eight tips which are guaranteed to help you cope this season. Get ready to make Christmas 2019 the most chilled holiday yet!

Don’t just carve the turkey, carve out time to relax

Whether you’re fighting someone in Tesco over the last bag of sprouts or being bombarded with Christmas TV ads telling you to buy, buy, BUY, the festive season can become something of a frenzy. Setting aside a little time for yourself to relax is so important, even if it’s just a couple of hours in an evening. Running yourself a sumptuous bath and working some relaxing aromatherapy body oils into your skin afterwards will soon have you feeling rejuvenated! And if you’re buying a stocking filler for someone else who finds the festive season a little stressful, Aromatherapy Associates gift sets make wonderful presents too.

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Say "ho ho NO!"

Hands up if you're an introvert! I sure am. An excessive amount of social interactions really leaves me feeling drained. At Christmas, there can be an immense amount of pressure to attend social events hosted by family, friends, colleagues, and your great uncle's best friend's cousin Dave. Learning to say no to prevent yourself from becoming overwhelmed is definitely worth it. Overcommitting ourselves is one of the greatest contributors to holiday stress, so don't be afraid to set your boundaries and stick to them. I promise you, you won't seem like Scrooge if you miss one Christmas get-together!

Stressed? Think like Mariah

It’s easy for Christmas to become all about other people. You run yourself ragged trying to keep everybody else happy and that can really get you down! If you find yourself in this kind of festive fix, just channel the ultimate Christmas diva herself: Mariah Carey. Because after all, who is the most important person in Mariah Carey’s life? Mariah Carey, of course! She serves as a brilliant reminder that YOU should feature on your own priority list. It’s easy just to focus exclusively on giving your family the ultimate Christmas but don't forget - you are part of your family too! You are just as worthy of thought and consideration as anyone else and you deserve to have elements of the day that you enjoy.

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All I want for Christmas is...

Traditional Christmas gift giving often means that the number of possessions accumulating in your home soars! Obviously it’s a wonderful thing to have generous family and friends who buy for you, but all of those extra items can send your stress levels through the roof. Trying to find places for new items in my small studio flat often leaves me feeling overwhelmed. That’s why, before the big day itself, I usually have a clear out, donating things I don’t use to charity shops. This spreads a bit of festive cheer to the less fortunate and frees up space in your home - win, win!

Think of your routine like Rudolf!

Santa's sleigh wouldn't get off the ground if it wasn't for Rudolf being there to guide it and I like to think of my daily routine in the same way! Our everyday routines help keep us relaxed and free of stress so hang on to them throughout the festive period. Don't forgo the little things that bring you a sense of calm and pleasure like reading for half an hour before bed in favour of hastily wrapping gifts or filling out Christmas cards. Christmas might be the most wonderful time of the year, but that doesn't mean that your regular routines aren't still important.

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Make your own naughty and nice lists

Santa has the art of list making down to a T! He not only keeps track of who is naughty and nice but he knows exactly what everyone wants to find under the tree. Get inspired by his organisational skills and follow my top tips for Christmas list success:

Prioritise, prioritise, prioritise!

No matter what the festive edition of Good Housekeeping might tell you, the perfect Christmas doesn't exist. All Christmas to-do lists should come with an element of compromise. When working out what I really need to get done, I prioritise by dividing tasks into "must do", "should do", and "could do". It focuses my mind on what is really important and takes the stress out of things that aren't so vital. You're not a magical elf, you can't do everything!

Make a list but remember, nobody's checking it twice

I also try to remember that nobody else knows about the things you don't end up crossing off your to-do list! Sure, you may have planned to make your own Christmas puddings this year and ended up just grabbing one from the supermarket in a rush, but nobody else knows that! What you have accomplished is way more important than the couple of things that you'll inevitably miss. Christmas (and life in general!) is too short to worry about not being perfect.

What about your "to-don't"s?

With all of this talk about lists, what about the things you really DON'T want to do this holiday season? Making a list of the things that you really want to avoid (such as getting annoyed if the needles start falling off the Christmas tree or worrying when your Christmas crafting goes awry) can help you to overcome those negative feelings if they should arise and focus on the joys of the festive period.

How do YOU avoid Christmas stress? Let me know in the comments.

*This post was written as part of a paid partnership with Aromatherapy Associates.