WITH the preparations for the special day now at fever pitch, it can be very comforting to have something pleasant to focus your energies on, at a time of year when reduced levels of daylight might otherwise have some of us feeling a bit low.

Although it is natural and indeed necessary to let your hair down, getting too caught up in the so called “festive spirit”, might not actually bring you the happiness you expect.

Here, I share what I hope may help you enjoy Christmas without some of the nasty side effects.

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Alcohol

WITH the UK Government now advising a maximum of 14 units spread out over the week, there will be plenty of opportunity to exceed this, even at a single sitting.

By alternating alcoholic beverages with soft drinks or water, not only will you reduce the total amount you consume, but you may escape a nasty hangover too.

Please be aware that if you have had a heavy night, there is every likelihood that you will still be over the limit to drive the next morning.

Food

THE traditional Christmas dinner contains a massive 3,000 calories, or to put this in perspective, more than an average man would need in a day.

Although it can be very tempting, try to avoid piling your plate high. If anything, this may reduce your enjoyment as you will feel under pressure to finish it all.

Eat your food slowly, chewing every mouthful. Studies show that doing this allows you to better gauge when you are actually full.

Social inclusion

CHRISTMAS can actually be a very lonely time of the year for many people, and also particularly poignant if you have lost someone dear at this time. With temperatures dropping, take it upon yourself to drop in and visit an elderly neighbour, or someone who lives on their own and may not have much regular human contact.

It will only be an hour of your time, but it will make their week, as well as giving you that warm glow inside.

Avoiding confrontation

YOU may be invited to spend Christmas with others, or vice versa, and although the spirit is often good at the start, small arguments can rapidly escalate into full on confrontation.

This will not help you or the other person, and can make it incredibly stressful for those around.

Try to adopt the “water off a duck’s back approach” and remember anything said in the heat of the moment, even if not really meant, still may be recalled long after.

Going into debt

WITH record numbers of individuals going into debt to buy Christmas presents, the disappointing reality is that most people won’t recall soon after what they were bought for Christmas; with many returning or swapping gifts in the January sales.

Ideally spend only what you can afford. Christmas is a time for giving, but giving your time, efforts and affection will always count for more than any material gift.