The shop­ping, the cook­ing, the presents... and then all those par­ties crammed into a sin­gle fort­night... If Christ­mas is your stress peak, try Jane Alexan­der’s clever tips for a lit­tle fes­tive peace and good­will

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - BODY & SOUL -

How come a fes­ti­val cel­e­brat­ing the birth of Christ has ended up be­com­ing the most stress­ful pe­riod of the year? What do you re­ally want? Do you re­ally love the big pro­duc­tion or would you rather plump for ‘ Silent Night’? What makes your heart sink? Fig­ure out sim­ple changes that would make Christ­mas work bet­ter for you. If it’s some­thing you can’t change, then at least ad­mit the prob­lem. Then you won’t feel quite so re­sent­ful. (€ 16.67), which ‘can re­duce the du­ra­tion of in­fluenza symp­toms from an av­er­age of six days to 48 hours’, says Shabir Daya. El­der­ber­ries are fas­ci­nat­ing — they ap­pear to work by knock­ing off the spikes that a virus uses to at­tach it­self to healthy cells. Sam­bu­col is also safe for chil­dren (they just take a lower dose). And as a bonus, it tastes gor­geous. Put some tea lights in lit­tle jam jars, placed on a pretty mir­ror to re­flect even more light. If you’re feel­ing artis­tic, you can dec­o­rate them with stained-glass paint (from craft shops) or sim­ply stick on se­quins for ex­tra sparkle. Avoid syn­thet­i­cally scented can­dles — try Neom’s gor­geous can­dles in­stead, in­clud­ing the fes­tive Christ­mas Wish (€52, avail­able from Brown Thomas or mail or­der from neo­mor­gan­ Or pop some cin­na­mon es­sen­tial oil on pine cones and set­tle them on your ra­di­a­tors to re­lease that Christ­massy scent. sparkly scarves and wow-fac­tor nail pol­ish. Ring the changes for each party and you’re sorted.

Fit­ness tends to go out the win­dow come De­cem­ber. Okay, so you might not make it to the gym but do make time to pull on a fleece and go for a swift walk. Re­search shows that a daily 15-minute walk is as ef­fec­tive as tran­quil­lis­ers for re­duc­ing anx­i­ety and keep­ing spir­its high. If you’re par­ty­ing, haul your­self onto the dance-floor — danc­ing is a proven mood-booster.

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