The most wonderful time of the year comes with its own challenges. Emotions are running high and there’s a lot of pressure for everyone to get along even when there’s alcohol involved. After your third glass of wine when a family members says the wrong thing to you it can be difficult to keep your cool and not trigger an argument.

“There’s long been a cultural perception that Christmas must be perfect, really it can be one of the most stressful times of the year.” Says Kate Meads Associates (KMA), an occupational therapy consultency in Hampshire.

As many students prepare to travel back home for Christmas between the 3rd and 9th of December some are excited to be reunited with family but others are fearing conflict and stress. With so much pressure for things to go exactly as planned, it’s easy to feel like one small slip up can ruin the day.

After all, no one wants to be blamed by mum for ruining Christmas.

So here are some top tips for getting through the Christmas break:

  1. Muscle Relaxation – When our bodies pick up on stress we automatically become tense. KMA recommend standing up straight against a wall or laying down on a bed and following this sequence three times. Start by tensing a body part and holding it for a few seconds, then relax. Next, Tense a body part with just enough tension to notice, then relax. Then go on to pay attention to each muscle group and decide to relax it.
  2. Write a journal. This is the best way to offload every stress and worry you have around Christmas. Take five minutes a day to write all your thoughts down then analyse them. Decide what’s in your control and what’s not. This helps you to stop worrying about things out of your control.
  3. Stay hydrated. For a lot of people a big part of Christmas is the alcohol. But don’t forget that alcohol can heighten your emotions. Alcohol also puts more stress on the body because Dehydration causes our heart-rate to increase. So, don’t forget to drink enough water.

If things don’t go to plan this Christmas remind yourself it’s okay to take some time alone to relax with a hot chocolate and remind yourself it won’t last forever.

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