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  • Fi Phillips

5 ways to stay sane in December

Christmas is almost upon us. Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet? Have you even started? Are you looking forward to the day? Dreading it? Even if you are utterly organised, the rush to create the perfect festive celebration can get to us all. So here are 5 tips on how to stay sane in the run up to the big day.

1. Be a child.

Often, in our attempts to keep on top of everything in preparation for Christmas, we can forget to actually enjoy it all. So stop, just for a moment, and take some time to remember what you liked about Christmas as a child.

Was it joyfully overdressing the Christmas tree with no thought as to whether it all co-ordinated? Was it Christmas TV (the Wizard of Oz, Doctor Who, the BBC pantomime)? Or was it just diving into the presents and ripping off the wrapping paper without the worry of tidying up?

Now, how does that memory feel? Keep that feeling close to you in December.

2. Be grateful

There's no doubt about it. Christmas is probably the most materialistic of celebrations that exists. It's a time of year when we add to our belongings en masse.

But we can concentrate so much on the things we'll get and the things we'll give, that we forget to appreciate what we already have in our lives.

What do you already have in your life that you're grateful for?

3. Don't do a Delia (or a Naked Chef)

In a culture which force-feeds us celebrity chefs, eating plans and cookery slots on morning TV, it sometimes seems that we must have all the dressings, culinary implements and latest herby oils to make any meal a success.

Mashed potato is boring unless it's been tweaked with cheese and herbs. Roasties are so last decade. Turkey just isn't fashionable unless you've groped about under its skin and shoved in a posh butter.

Relax a little. If you like your turkey ungroped and plain, that's okay. If roasties and carrots are your thing, fine. You do not have to be a domestic goddess a'la Nigella or a shouty chef like Gordon. Cook what you want to eat, how you want to eat it.

4. Time out

No, time out isn't just for screaming five year olds. It can be invaluable for us grown-ups too.

Scream into a cushion. Kick a ball around (perhaps with the kids). Slap a snowman.

Whatever it takes (within reason and the law) to release that festive frustration, go for it.

Everyone, whatever their age, can benefit from a little time out now and then.

5. Breathe

This isn't as obvious as it sounds.

The power of breath is overlooked for the most part because it's just something that our bodies do without us thinking about it.

But, if all else fails, take a deep breath in, count to ten, breathe out and smile.