This year don't let the pressures of Christmas stop you enjoying the big day, with my top tips for surviving the festive season.
1. With your cards and presents, get the rest of the family to help you wrap them. Make it a family afternoon event, don't make it traumatic. If you've got children you'll obviously want to put the presents away and quietly wrap them but just relax when you're doing them. Sit down with a glass of mulled wine or a cup of tea and focus on the smiles on their faces when they unwrap their gifts.
2. If you're inviting family or friends round for Christmas don't take the brunt of the event all upon yourself. Share it. Get someone to bring a pudding, someone else can bring nibbles etc. Make it a real family event, that's what Christmas is all about.
3. If you are feeling stressed at this time of year the most important thing you can do is talk about it. If you're on your own and don't have any family, friends or neighbours to speak to you can always call the Samaritans and they'll offer you any advice that you need and offer some comfort too. You can also try the Salvation Army or your local church or community centre.
4. If you're at home and you're finding that it's going to be a really busy and stressful time, you can put some essential oils into a simple burner, or if you don't have a burner you can use a small bowl of warm water, some essential oils like spearmint which is very calming but refreshing and it won't interfere with any of your cooking smells. Orange and tea tree is wonderfully calming, anti-bacterial and anti-viral too. Cinnamon can be quite strong and can interfere with some people's medication even though it is the base of many Christmas aromas.
5.Do be aware that when you're giving Christmas goodies that some people may be allergic to nuts or dairy products. It's important to bare in mind that once nuts are open in the atmosphere they can still affect people.
6. If you're suffering from winter coughs, colds and sore throats then a natural remedy you can try is honey in warm water with a splash of lemon too if you like. It's one of the best sources of relief you can give yourself at this time of year alongside the usual medicines that reduce pain and fever . It is anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory so will help soothe your cold. Try mixing the honey with a sprinkling of cinnamon to soothe a sore throat and do remember to top up your immune system with Vitamin C, Zinc or Echinacea; these will all help you fight the bugs more efficiently.
7. If you've over-indulged over the Christmas period Andrews Liver Salts or milk thistle is a really good over the counter remedy to help cleanse the liver. This will in turn balance the digestive system and rid your body of any unwanted excesses. Vitamin C + zinc will help rid the body of any unwanted toxins that may have built up and a good probiotic will help keep your digestive system happy too.
8. Do remember that to avoid a hangover, eat something that is fatty before you go out to drink. Something like a piece of cheese or if you can't have dairy then try something like peanut butter to line the stomach this will help prevent the absorption of some of the alcohol. Remember to drink plenty of fluids - drinking loads of water before you go out and when you get back home will help re-hydrate your body, which is the major cause of a hangover.