As Christmas preparations reach fever pitch in Macclesfield, check our guide to reaching 2012 unscathed!
8th December 2011
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Take a look at some of your lists... you know the ones, Christmas presents, Christmas cards, Christmas food, invitations sent, invitations received, things to do before 24th December, people to visit, people to phone... are you at screaming point already?? 

If you put one thing on your list every day, make it 'ME TIME'.  It only has to be 15 minutes if that's all you can spare, but it could be the difference between serenity and insanity.  Then put some of these stress busters into practice.

Exercise – and before you groan, we're not talking pumping iron here, it doesn't have to be more than walking the dog as long as you raise your heart rate a bit. Exercise burns off stress hormones, adrenalin and cortisol and releases feel good endorphins.

Treat yourself – a magazine, facial or full fat frothy cappuccino (just this once!) and don't allow yourself to feel even a tiny bit guilty about it.

Make time for friends - you offload your worries, they offload theirs and all of a sudden they don't seem half as important

Music - quiet and relaxing whilst soaking in a luxurious bath, or loud and lairy while you dance round the living room like nobody's watching (hopefully they won’t be), there is music for every occasion.  Load up your iPod to suit your moods.

And finally - sleep.  A decent night’s sleep is essential for stress control.  Don't just go to bed and hope you'll drop off – take active steps to guarantee a proper, restful night’s sleep.  Avoid caffeine and alcohol in the evening.  A warm, milky drink will relax you and help you nod off.  A warm bath before bedtime, deep breathing or relaxation exercises and ensuring your bedroom is clutter free all contribute to a productive night's sleep.  And if you can't drop off don't lie there worrying about it.  Switch a soft light on and read for a while, and don't look constantly at the clock. 

Most of all, remember that Christmas is just one day really, but if you can build just some of these tactics into your day to day life beyond Christmas, hopefully you're also in for a Happy New Year!

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