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When we’re children, Christmas is a magical and exciting festival that we look forward to for months. But as we get older, especially when we have children ourselves, fantasy turns to reality and many of us worry about making sure everyone gets a great gift, our food is worthy of The Great British Bake Off and we don’t overspend or overindulge. Just how much of a problem is stress at Christmas? We surveyed 200 people to find out, because as all nutritionists know, getting to the bottom of a problem is the first step to fixing it.

Half get stressed, half don’t

We asked whether Christmas has ever got respondents stressed. Overall it was pretty much split 50/50, meaning about half of us do and half don’t. There was a slight difference between men and women – only 53% of men didn’t get stressed. So whether you’re one who doesn’t let Christmas faze you or one of those who does, just remember you’re not alone!

From our survey results, it was clear then that people do get stressed during the festive period. The costs, stresses of shopping, and annoyance of long-lines really do get us down. Knowing this, we were curious to find out what steps people took to remain calm at Christmas – what does the general public do to beat Christmas stress? We asked the public for their top tips on reducing Christmas stress.

Early Planning is Key

Across the survey, it was clear that the cost of Christmas – with all the associated shopping, present-pressure and queueing – was a major factor when it came to festive stress. 46% of those surveyed said that early planning, and saving in advance, was one of their best tips for beating Christmas stress. This makes a lot of sense really. If it’s the costs of Christmas which create undue pressure and stress, then spread these out earlier in the year - don’t let Christmas catch you off guard!

Of course, that’s an ideal world solution. Most people aren’t able to save throughout the year, and despite best intentions, Christmas tends to creep up unexpectedly. With that in mind, those surveyed tried to beat festive stress by staying fit and healthy – 16% listed eating healthily, with plenty of water, as a key component for beating the seasonal stress, and 15% stated that winter walks were important. Get exercise, and try and eat well despite the festive excesses! This can be difficult after devouring so much turkey, however.
Or you could cheat – 14% of people surveyed beat Christmas stress simply by letting someone else host. And interesting, only 6% of people surveyed said drinking less alcohol was key to beating stress – having a crafty wine is possibly the only way some people can survive spending time with their most irritating family members!

Early Planning and Saving in Advance – 46%
Eating healthily and drinking more water – 16%
Getting plenty of exercise, such as going for winter walks – 15%
Letting someone else host Christmas – 14%
Drinking less alcohol – 6%
Taking vitamins – 4%

Having a Healthy Christmas

Exercise is a great way to keep Christmas stress at bay, and trying to maintain a balanced diet – despite all the turkey and chocolate – is always going to help. But what about vitamins and supplements? Taking specialised nutrient and herbal formulas that help your body adapt to the rushes of Christmas can promote a healthy internal stress response.

From our survey however, it seemed most people weren’t taking, or hadn’t considered taking, vitamins to help beat Christmas stress. Only 4% of those surveyed would take vitamins or supplements to help reduce pressure in the festive period. There could be a number of reasons for such a low score – when thinking of beating stress, people don’t naturally think of vitamins and supplements – but it’s an area more people should look to consider. Especially in the rush of Christmas – sometimes there’s just not the time to exercise, so supplements are certainly useful to support a person’s health. It’s stress that leads to people catching colds, and getting run down, and no one wants to spend Christmas day in bed!

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