5 steps to festive calm

Seasonal stress taking its toll? Try these five tips.
Published 27 November, 2018 | Updated 6 December, 2023

What with party planning, food shopping, gift wrapping, school play costume making and trying to see all your relatives in the space of two weeks, the festive season can take its toll on your wellbeing.

Try these ideas to stay calm during the busiest time of the year.

1. Get some zzz's

Experts at The National Sleep Foundation recommend adults aged between 18-64 years old get around 7-9 hours sleep per night (and 7-8 hours for those aged 65+), so make sure you leave time in your hectic schedule to get enough shut-eye. Relaxation before bed is important for quality sleep – why not try a meditation or sleep story in the WW app?

2. Cut down on caffeine

If you’re sensitive to caffeine, even a moderate amount can disrupt sleep, adding to feelings of stress. In a study of shift workers, the equivalent of two espressos was shown to disturb sleep five hours later. If you’re wired and tired, caffeinated drinks may be contributing to the problem.

3. Brew some tea

If you’re looking for a calming brew, try jasmine tea. In a study of 24 volunteers, even just the scent of jasmine tea was found to have a sedative, calming effect, and even lead to a decrease in heart rate. Shop-bought versions are blended with antioxidant-rich green tea, so you double up on the benefits.

4. Get some vitamin D

The further north you live, the more likely you are to have a deficiency of the so-called sunshine vitamin, particularly over the winter months when sunlight is weak. Eat lots of vitamin D rich foods such as eggs, oily fish, fortified yogurts and cereals, and consider taking a supplement. There’s evidence to support a correlation between depression and lack of vitamin D, so these small steps could have a big impact on your overall happiness and winter wellbeing.

5. Make time for movement

If you’re feeling frazzled, even a short burst of exercise could help release some of that pent-up festive stress. Take the dog for a quick walk, go for a jog around the park or try a ten minute HIIT training session.