The Secret to a Stress-Free Christmas

Advice // Sarah Link // 17 December 2013

They don’t call it the “Silly Season” for nothing. With shopping, cooking, more shopping, wrapping, hosting and family politics – the holidays are a major cause of anxiety and stress. But it doesn’t have to be. Our Christmas elves (aka 12WBT Nutrition and Fitness Experts) have put together a guide to making Christmas a merry and stress-free time.

1. De-Stress with Exercise

One of the benefits of exercise is that it lowers stress levels – even if it is just a short walk. If the chaos of Christmas is getting a bit much, head out for a walk/jog to clear your head.

2. Take Advantage of Summertime Sunshine

There is no excuse NOT be outside and enjoying the sizzling summer. Don’t use a hectic schedule as an excuse not to exercise. It can be as simple as running around the backyard playing catch with the kids.

3. Get Exercise Out of the Way Early

It’s busy in the Silly Season – very busy. Which makes it all the more important to plan your exercise and stick to it. This will be far easier if you get it done in the morning before the day gets away from you.

4. Use your Family Time

Get the family moving. There is no better Christmas gift than improving their health. Go for walks together, play sports or any other activity that encourages you all to be out in the fresh air.

5. Don’t Beat Yourself Up

Do as much as you can in with the time you have. But if you do miss a session, don’t beat yourself up. Pick yourself up the next day and jump back into it.

6. Keep Your Menu Simple

When Christmas entertaining, use recipes that are easy to make and you know are going to work. Save the complicated or new recipes for a less stressful time when you’re not so busy and can spend time experimenting.

7. Don’t Be Afraid to Re-gift

Just make sure you document who gave you what. Chances are you will never eat the indulgent, high-calorie food that is given to you. And if you did eat it, you’ll just feel sick and guilty afterwards – so pass it on.

8. Create Some Fancy, Non-Alcohol Options

Make a low-calorie, non-alcoholic punch using natural spring water as a base. Another idea is to serve up a jug of sparkling mineral water with fresh mint and slices of lime and lemon. It looks stunning in a jug and tastes amazing.

9. Put Your Food Orders in Early

Order your ham, salmon, turkey and any large main ingredients well ahead of time. It pays to be organized. You’ll beat the rush and ensure that you get everything you need without racing around the shops last-minute.

10. Do a Pantry Stocktake

Go through your cupboards. That way you’ll know exactly how many plates, crockery, serving tools you have. Trust me, it will save you some serious panic. The earlier you do this in the season, the less crowded shops will be.

11. Accept it Probably Won’t be Perfect

The reality is – rarely does everything go to plan. So just accept this. You might burn the turkey or your annoying cousin will show up to dinner empty-handed… again. Smile, take a deep breath and roll with the punches. You’ll have a much better time.

12. Enjoy It

Christmas is about spending time with family and celebrating together. Don’t forget to enjoy it. Embrace the joy and wear a smile each and every day.

How about you, do have any tips for taking the stress out of Christmas? Leave them in the comments section below – we would all love to hear them.

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