Corinne Sweet, Psychologist, Broadcaster and Author of The Mindfulness Journal (Pan Macmillan) worked with as part of their Merry Restmas campaign to help take the stress out of the Christmas period.

Corinne commented "Ideally, Christmas should be all about spending quality time together as a family or with friends, but sometimes the hype, rush and stress of it all gets in the way. It's no wonder so many of us are turning to alternatives, such as restaurants. It's important to remember what the festive season is all about: connecting and celebrating. Don't try to be perfect. If you want to create restaurant standard food, just eat out! Trying make Christmas perfect simply puts too much pressure on, financially, socially and emotionally."

Corinne suggests:

• Don't try to be perfect: do your best. A 'good enough' Christmas is absolutely fine. Don't get caught up replicating the picture perfect Christmas in magazines and trying to recreate restaurant standard food. Sometimes, simpler is better. If it works for you to eat out in a restaurant this Christmas, so be it!

• Plan ahead: make lists of what is essential this Christmas and stick to it. Keep track of when cards and parcels need to go to the post office, when you need to do you Christmas food shop and who you really need to buy things for, and then stagger your trips to the shops accordingly.

• Breathe: if you feel that things are getting on top of you, take five minutes every morning to sit and just 'be'. Keep breathing every time you feel stress rising. Give yourself regular breaks whilst shopping and organising to keep calm and carry on this Christmas.

• Don't try to please everyone: start with what makes sense to you and your loved ones this Christmas, and work outwards from there. Christmas is about spending quality time with nearest and dearest, so make that the priority.

• Budget: a lot of stress comes from overspending, or spending without thinking. Face money ahead of time, and you won't be caught out in January.

• Be realistic: over the Christmas break be realistic about travel arrangements and plan journeys with time to spare. A lot of stress over the festive period comes from traffic jams and train delays, so factor in time so that if the worst happens, it won't have too much of a negative impact.

• Communicate: Christmas is one of the busiest social times of the year, but don't be afraid to say no. Speak with people as levelly as you can about your plans - gently let down relatives and friends ahead of time if you are not seeing them to avoid any last minute stresses.

• Prepare for Christmas Day ahead of time: to make things go smoother on Christmas Day, make puddings and cakes ahead of time (even weeks!); prepare vegetables on Christmas Eve and chill, and why not make sauces the day before; buy in ready-made if you are really pushed. Just get organised and you'll actually enjoy the day!

Have a relaxing Christmas this year

Have a relaxing Christmas this year

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