The Christmas holiday has a way of elevating our stress levels and maybe even worse for individuals with mental ill-health.

A number of activities we engage in that has become part of us becomes disrupted as we try to fall in line with the festivity. It is considerably worse if you decide to wait until the last minute to prepare for Christmas.

This factors would no doubt increase your stress level, as you exhaust yourself trying to catch up with something you could have done way before. You’d be saving yourself not only time but also money if you every ready before the festival begins.

By making a list of things you want to do and places you want to go and setting a budget and a time target to reaching them, you save yourself stress. In other words, plan ahead. Consider online shopping, so you don’t spend too much time on long queues.

Some of the social activities you have planned may contribute to causing depression and anxiety, so you may want to consider some of the following ways to help reduce Christmas stress;

1. Food

The Christmas celebration has been linked with significant food consumption around the world and families as well as friends would indulge in kitchen battle to display culinary talents. People sometimes may lose track of their food intake that they gain extra pounds before the new year.

This is why there is an increase in the need to get back to the gym so you can burn the unwanted weight you packed during Christmas.

But why not avoid that altogether by controlling what goes into your stomach and maintaining a healthy eating pattern no matter how tempting the turkey and the fried rice are.

Don’t forget to eat fruits and vegetables, protein and omega 3 are also necessary nutrients you don’t need to miss. Stick to a healthy diet, and you wouldn’t have to worry about putting on too much weight.

Once you realise that sudden excess weight gain can cause tiredness, leading to depression and irritability, or anxiety that you may not be as active as you would like to; then it would be easy to make the right diet decisions.

2. Alcohol

Social drinking is commonly associated with the celebratory spirit of Christmas and New Year as we all know.

Indulging in the drinking of alcohol may be relaxing, it is vital to note that alcohol is an antidepressant and too much of it can result in a low mood, aggressive behaviour or irritability.

By staying within your safe zone and not going past the recommended number of alcohol intake, you may be better able to sustain a stronger mental and physical health.

3. Exercise

The feel-good chemicals are released when you work those muscles. Finding the time to exercise from consistently helps you relax easily as endorphin is released into your body system, which helps boost your mood too.

I take the time to jog early in the mornings when the sun isn’t up. You could try swimming, cycling or even indoor games like scrabble and chess.

There is no way your body and mind won’t enjoy this. These activities can help reduce stress and anxiety, improve self-esteem and decrease depression.

You should also be aware that exercising regularly can help boost your body system’s immunity, making it easier to fight off colds and flu viruses that are rampant during winter or Harmattan.

4. Sleep

It may get crazy socially during the festive season where almost everyone wants to party nonstop. However, the body isn’t designed for prolonged use, especially without rest.

Sleep is an excellent way to let your body get all the needed rest it requires. At least eight hours of sleep is recommended to get the body refreshed again without breaking down.

You could try sleeping naked with the room well ventilated so you can sleep well, allowing your body to get all the air it needs. Don’t forget to drink enough water also, so you don’t get dehydrated. A well rested mind functions best.

Ensure to protect yourself during this festive period, so it doesn’t become difficult to find balance even before the first two or three months.

Be around people who don’t drain you of your energy. Don’t overwork yourself and everything would be just beautiful — merry Christmas and happy new year in advance.