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Dr. Anna Norris, Clinical Psychologist at The Female Health Clinic shares her favourite top ten relaxation tips to help soothe your mind and body during Christmas.

The lead-up to Christmas can be stressful for many people. There is often pressure to find the perfect gifts for loved ones, participate in gatherings and events, and decorate the home to perfection. 

The financial strain of buying presents and hosting celebrations can also add to the stress. 

Additionally, the added demands of work and personal responsibilities during this time of year can contribute to feeling overwhelmed. For some, the Christmas season may bring up difficult emotions and memories, making it challenging. 

With so much to do and so little time, the lead-up to Christmas can become a time of high stress and anxiety for many.

So, wouldn’t it be nice to get through the season with a little less stress and a few more moments of calm and peace?

The following tips will help you find relaxation during this busy time and improve how you think or feel about the moment and the season.

Find a reason in the Season

Find or reconnect to a purpose, meaning, or value during the season. Focus on the positive aspects of the holiday and the season.

Muscle relaxation

After a day on your feet, working, Christmas shopping, or partying, sit down and relax your muscles by tensing and relaxing each large muscle group, starting with your hands and arms, going to your head, and then working down.

Give yourself a holiday

You don’t need to go to Bermuda to take a holiday this time of year


Contributing can give a sense of meaning and make you feel good about yourself. Give something to someone else, do volunteer work, or do a surprising, thoughtful thing.

Opposite Action

If you’re feeling down, do something opposite to how you feel. Let’s face it, if your life isn’t picture perfect, Christmas can bring up sadness, regrets, and other painful emotions (especially when we can’t be with all our loved ones).  

Change your mood and feelings by engaging in activities opposite to how you feel. Read an uplifting book, listen to upbeat music, or go to see a funny film. You could call a friend, exercise, go out to dinner, take the children someplace special, say “I love you” or remind yourself of something you did well.

Comfort yourself

Do something nurturing, gentle, and kind for yourself. Look outside at nature or some beautiful decorations, listen to music that you find particularly soothing, or sing your favorite songs. Surround yourself with soothing comforting smells, like the smell of pine, biscuits baking, or cinnamon. Massage your feet, put on a soft wooly jumper or scarf, or better still – hug someone.

Deep Breathing

Lie on your back, breathing evenly and gently. Focus your attention on your breath, coming in and out, and the movement of your stomach. As you breathe in, allow your stomach to rise, exhale fully, pushing all the air out of your lungs. Continue to do this for 10 breaths.

Clean the house

Christmas often brings extra chores and cleaning, and we can’t avoid doing them. So, use them as an opportunity to self-soothe rather than see them as an additional stress. 

Divide your work into stages: straightening things and putting them away, then scrubbing and cleaning.  

Allow a good length of time for each task. Move slowly (3 times more slowly than usual) and focus your attention fully on each task. Maintain awareness of your actions and your thoughts. If they wander, bring them back to full attention on the task at hand.

Hopefully these tips will help you to get through and enjoy the Christmas festivities.

And remember, if someone you know is struggling or feeling lonely at Christmas, it might mean a lot to them to hear from you.

The Samaritans are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by phone on 116 123.


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