Take a deep breath as Christmas beckons
Good management of stress is crucial to surviving the season and you need a festive strategy
Cheerful music, twinkling lights on the city streets and decorations in the shops - what can possibly be wrong with a few reminders that Christmas is coming? It is the news that Scrooges will have been waiting for, but quite a lot, actually. If you don't feel ready to think about the festive season, then those reminders can quickly become a source of irritation. They can also be exhausting. Screening out the endless tunes takes mental effort, while thinking about the presents you need to buy, the preparations you need to make, and the money you'll be spending, can all cause anxiety.
According to academics, stress rates are higher at this time of year. A survey of more than 700 adults in the US by pollsters Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, and cited by the American Psychological Society, found that 25pc of people said they "felt stressed", while 20pc were "often fatigued" during the Christmas period. A Grinch-like 18pc of those polled claimed to dislike Christmas shopping altogether.
The first weekend of December typically marks the start of the shopping feeding frenzy, with retailers holding events and offering discounts. With all that temptation, it's perhaps little wonder that seven out of 10 people buy gifts that they then keep for themselves. But when you're trying to keep a handle on the purse strings - not to mention the number of carrier bags you have to lug around the overly hot shops - unnecessary purchases are the last thing you need.