Champneys Blog

Self-Care at Christmas – Tips that experts swear by

Christmas is just around the corner and while it is the most wonderful time of the year, it is also one of the most stressful. Buying presents, the cooking, putting up decorations, the parties and, of course, the school holidays can make for a busy couple of weeks, when it should be a time to relax.
However, you can make the season more enjoyable by stopping stress in its tracks. At Champneys, we know a thing or two about relaxing. In our helpful guide, we’ve gathered together some expert tips and shared some steps that you can follow to ensure you make the most of this special time of the year.
What is Christmas stress?

First things first, what exactly is Christmas stress? Christmas stress is something many of us experience and research by Nutri Advanced revealed that over half of its participants claimed to have become run down over the festive period.

The survey highlighted the percentage of Brits who find certain things stressful at Christmas. The results can be seen below:

•Shopping for presents (50%)
•Cost of Christmas (48%)
•Pressure to find the perfect gift (28%)
•Getting rundown (28%)
•Dealing with high expectations (22%)
•Fatigue from busyness (22%)
•Pressure from hosting (12%)
•Gaining weight (16%)
•Loneliness (6%)

Top tips to enjoy a relaxing Christmas

There are so many things you can do to ensure your Christmas is as relaxing and stress-free as possible and here’s how you can make the most of your festive season.

Enjoy a relaxing Christmas with a spa break

As we’ve already mentioned, Christmas can be a stressful time of the year, but by going on relaxing spa breaks in the build-up to the big day you can be at peace in body, mind, and soul.

If the Christmas shopping is getting too much, then you can enjoy the perfect pampering experience by booking an overnight break at our Forest Mere, Tring, Henlow or Springs spa resorts.

Our packages will allow you to switch off and enjoy our treatments in a luxurious and relaxed environment.

Talya, a parenting blogger who runs Motherhood: The Real Deal, also believes relaxing at a spa in the build-up to Christmas is a good idea and she recommends trying a total body massage:

“A total body massage has to be the ultimate in relaxation. I love a Swedish massage to beat that stress - not only is it a great way to unwind and release any tension but also it helps to get rid of any of those pre-Christmas toxins which inevitably build up in the festive season!”

Becky, a mum of four, knows how busy Christmas can get and she shares her stories through The Mummy Adventure blog. She told us about some spa treatments she would really enjoy:

“Relaxation wise, I think Christmas shopping takes its toll and a full body massage is top of my list! A fancy Christmas manicure would be a close second though!”

Vicky Charles, who is the blogger behind the parenting and lifestyle blog Single Mother Ahoy, also recommends a good massage to get rid of that Christmas stress:

“You can't beat a good massage! Just the sheer decadence of laying down for an hour without having to *do* anything is a major luxury!”

Here are some other great spa treatments you can enjoy to relieve all that Christmas stress:

•The Champneys Spa Heaven Cocoon body treatment
•Champneys Head in the clouds massage
•Acupressure Alternative Treatment
•Alternative Hot Stone Reflexology
•Elemis Absolute Spa Ritual Facial

To find out more about the best stress-busting spa treatments, read our recent guide.

Ensure you get some ‘me time’

No matter what time of year it is, everyone needs to enjoy some ‘me time’ and this is something that is certainly relevant in the run-up to Christmas.

Life can be hectic, and Christmas can add to the chaos as it feels as though you’re juggling the world – children, spouse, work, home. This is why it is important that you make time for yourself, otherwise, your stress levels will hit the roof.

Talya, the founder of Motherhood: The Real Deal blog, told us it’s important to take time out so you don’t burn out:

“Christmas can be a crazy time so make sure when you’re running around trying to get a zillion things down you build in some time for self-care too. Taking time out for yourself in this busy time so you don’t burn out is so important. That and not taking things so seriously! So, whether it’s taking five to put on a face mask, winding down with some yoga, or just soaking in a bath reading a magazine, be sure to build in some me-time in the festive weeks!”

Some other ‘me time’ activities you can do over the festive period include:

•Reading a book
•Go al fresco and enjoy a warm drink out in the garden
•Go swimming to wash away those Christmas stresses
•Listen to music to help relax
•Go for a walk. It doesn’t have to be long, but it is great for your body and mind

Make a Christmas list

Making a Christmas list shouldn’t be left until mid-December. Why not note things down when they are mentioned by your loved ones? This will allow you a bit of time to research the presents your family and friends want.

Susan Mann runs her own mummy blog and she told us that making a list can be a big stress reliever:

“My tip would be to make a list of everything you need to do and put it into manageable chunks per day. Also, ask for help. You can't do everything on your own. Whether it helps with wrapping gifts or the grocery shop. Get the kids involved in wrapping gifts for relatives. Also, if you have a few names to add to your Christmas cards, I invested in a stamp, the best thing I ever did.”

If it is a list for yourself, you should write down everything you want when you think of it and then when it gets closer to Christmas you should highlight the presents you would really like.

Start your shopping and Christmas prep early

We’ve all been there, it’s a week before Christmas Day and we still haven’t got any Christmas presents or got the food you need for the big day.

Blogging guru Vicky Charles swears by getting your Christmas shopping done early.

“I would say the best thing to do is start with your prep and shopping early so that you don't end up in a mad panic as time runs out. Make use of internet offers, book your supermarket shop to be delivered and then sit back and enjoy the atmosphere!”

Christmas is already going to be a pricey month with parties and food to purchase, but one way you can save some money is by buying Christmas presents early.

October and November shouldn’t sound too early to deal with Christmas shopping as you can spread the cost of presents over these months rather than paying a large chunk of money in December.

You’ll find that you will be able to get some good deals and if you’re worried about missing Black Friday bargains, then just check the return policy.

Don’t compare your Christmas to others

Becky, who runs the award-winning The Mummy Adventure blog, is aiming for as stress-free a Christmas as possible and something she has learnt over the years is to not compare yourself to others.

She told us, “My tip would be to stop comparing yourself to everyone else. You don't have to have the perfect tree, a 6-course meal, homemade advent calendar’s and an elf on the shelf to have a magical Christmas. Focus on the bits that matter to you and remember Christmas is about more than physical possessions and social media.”

Get plenty of sleep

As the Sleepscore Labs website reveals: the less you sleep, the more stressed you will become. Over the Christmas period, our sleep patterns can be all over the place and it’s therefore important to try and get enough sleep.

There are lots of tips you can follow to help you get a good night sleep over the Christmas period and these include:

•Calming Pillow Mist – Our pillow mist spray allows you to be surrounded by the aroma of lavender, geranium and chamomile as you try to get some sleep. It leaves you feeling calm and our therapists recommend spraying it lightly over your bed linen and allowing the mist to settle before you climb into bed.

•Keep hydrated – Drinking a small glass of water or keeping a glass by your bed to sip on has been known to help people sleep.

•Exercise – While it is cold outside it is important to continue to exercise. Doing just 20 minutes of exercise can improve the quality of your sleep as it helps to relax people. At Champneys, we offer several boot camps where you can not only work up a sweat but can learn about nutrition and making positive lifestyle changes.

•Don’t go to bed on an empty stomach – While you should avoid going to bed after eating a large meal, it is just as important not to go to bed without eating anything.

•Don’t drink too much alcohol – Alcohol may have a sedative effect for the first few hours after drinking it, but it leads to broken sleep as you will get up more often during the night.

•Try not to nap – We’ve all been there, after eating a big Christmas lunch or after a day of Christmas shopping, the sofa just seems the perfect place to catch up on lost sleep. According to Web MD, it is important to establish and maintain a regular sleep pattern as napping can affect the quality of night-time sleep.

Try our temple balm

Our Calming Temple Balm contains soothing lavender extracts, chamomile and uplifting geranium, combined with almond butter and shea butter.

The ingredients are not only an infusion of classic English sensory plants, but it helps you to relax and unwind after a busy day.

So, if you’re feeling stressed over the festive period, then you should massage the balm onto your pulse points to fully relax. It is great to put on before bed as it will help you sleep.

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