How to Survive the Festive Tide of Christmas Madness?

For many, the pressures of Christmas can bring major tension, anxiety and fatigue making the festive season more of an irksome challenge than a time of joyful celebration.  So this year, leading natural health store, Nutrition Centre, have teamed up with Pukka Herbs, the UK’s largest supplier of ayurvedic herbs, to produce a Christmas Survival Guide to help people manage their stress and enjoy this year’s Christmas to the full. 

Clare Galpin, Director of Nutrition Centre explains:

“There’s so much to do at Christmas – all the shopping, presents, wrapping, decorating, the Christmas tree, making extra beds, cleaning, cooking – and all amidst a whirlwind of partying. And Christmas brings so many additional pressures and stress triggers – from worries about costs, who to invite and where everyone is going to stay, to lack of time and help, overexcited children and stressful family arguments. The list is endless!  However, our new Christmas Survival Guide – created in collaboration with Pukka Herbs – outlines simple measures you can take to manage your stress and hopefully avoid it, so you can enjoy a relaxed and joyful Christmas with your family and friends.”    

Sebastion Pole, Director of Pukka Herbs, ayurveda expert and author of A Pukka Life: finding your path to perfect health, says:

“The Christmas Survival Guide applies insights from the ayurvedic approach to stress. Ayurveda sees stress as a disturbance of the nervous system, which is mainly regulated by vata (one of the three doshas of ayurveda). Vata has the natural qualities of being light, subtle, erratic, sensitive and it is easily upset at Christmas time by too much sensory stimulation, too much food, too much time pressure and too much to do. So our Christmas Survival Guide includes some good ways for managing this disturbance to vata and thus to help prevent stress.”

1.      Get Plenty of Sleep

In times of stress, good sleep is vital for our body to repair itself and produce natural killer cells, assisting our immune system, so avoid too many late nights. A cup of Pukka Night Time tea is an ideal way to unwind before bed. But if insomnia is a problem then try Ashwagandha, a supplement which generates inner calm and helps the body cope with and adapt to stress,  or A.Vogel Dormeasan, a popular herbal sleeping aid.

2.      Keep Calm 

Amid all the rushing around trying to get everything organised and perfect for everyone else, be sure you take time for a rest yourself this Christmas.  Even just sitting quietly for 20 minutes with a relaxing herbal tea reflecting on all the good things in your life can be a great way to re-energise.  Or you can use this time to meditate, or to simply to relax consciously observing your breath and/or your feelings which helps to bring inner peace.

Learn to delegate: if you have people around you who could help out with Christmas chores, don’t be afraid to ask. Things may not work out the way you planned but it might be more fun! The family member or friend approached might be glad to play their part in helping create a special Christmas.

Shopping in the Christmas rush can be stressful.  If you’re prone to feeling overwhelmed, Bach Rescue Remedy is a fantastic calmer so keep some handy; you can also use it on the children if they’re with you and need settling down.  But if you’re struggling with high stress levels on a daily basis and feeling like Christmas could push you over the edge, try Solgar Balance Rhodiola Complex, a blend of herbs and nutrients which will help to restore your balance and harmony.

3.      Take Plenty of Exercise

Keeping your regular exercise routine or yoga/pilates practice going over the festive season can be challenging. However, perseverance here will pay off – keeping in shape and releasing mood enhancing endorphins, you’ll look and feel great, and it will be easier to get into the swing again in January if you haven’t taken a major break from exercising over Christmas. Keep challenging yourself (one more rep!) and beating those times, and enjoy it!  Finding someone to work out with really helps, but otherwise why not try a dance or fitness class like Zumba or Bokwa as a fun way to keep fit? And if nothing else, be sure to get out for some fresh air walks!

4.      Avoid Excess Drinking

While Christmas is the time to eat, drink and be merry, most of us are all too familiar with the downside of excess, so aim for moderation! If you are likely to drink a lot over Christmas, try to alternate between a glass of wine and a non alcoholic drink or glass of water (by rehydrating the body and brain, water helps you cope better with stressful situations).  Your liver will prioritise metabolising alcohol before digesting your food and other jobs, so drinking on an empty stomach before a big meal isn’t advisable! If you do overindulge, Milk Thistle herb is an effective way to relieve the symptoms of excessive drinking and overeating.

5.      Keep your digestion in check 

We all love a big Christmas dinner, and while it would be unnecessarily overcautious to turn one down for fear of indigestion, there are precautions you can take to avoid it. Try not to overeat and if you are prone to indigestion try taking a digestive enzyme to help break down food in the stomach, such as the Terra Nova Digestive Enzyme Complex. If you suffer from bloating after big meals, try taking a probiotic as a preventative – for full benefit,  take it during the weeks leading up to Christmas.

6.                        Try not to be a perfectionist


Christmas is meant to be for fun and celebration, so if things don’t always go according to plan– the dog opens the presents, or the pudding explodes – try not to let it bother you.  It will at least make for an amusing anecdote you can laugh about next year!