Christmas time is nearly upon us. A time for seeing friends and family, for giving and receiving gifts. A time when we need no excuse to eat food based on tastiness rather than nutritional value. Christmas is generally the time we rely on to recharge our batteries! What’s not to like?

As it transpires, quite a lot! From the more obvious stresses such as; juggling revision for January exams, whilst still making time to see your friends and family; to a precarious financial situation; to the more abstract stresses we don’t consciously consider: those annoyingly repeated songs and those long dark days… your mind has a lot on its plate!

So, if you’re really getting into the ‘season to be jolly’ that’s great! If not, that’s also not a problem and you’re definitely not alone, but here are three top tips, proven by scientific studies, to try and help your Christmas go a little more smoothly!

1. Do as much uni work as you can, before you go home!
With the gap between December 14th and January seeming so huge, it’s easy to think ‘it’s okay, I’ll just leave all my revision until the Christmas break, then I’ll get loads done without having more added to the list’. Don’t be tempted! Be sure to get as much work done as possible before you hop on a train home as when you get back, you will have far more time to spend with your family and friends. It may seem a bit daunting to start the work now, but they haven’t seen you for weeks, possibly months, so it’s a big ask for your family to leave you alone to revise and write coursework! Getting that work done earlier will always make you feel more relaxed in the long run, letting you truly enjoy the festivities.

2. What to remember when Christmas shopping: you’re a student!
Christmas shopping has got to be one of the biggest stress factors! Studies into this festive ritual suggest it can have negative effects on your body, such as raising your heart rate and initiating fatigue (according to Nutri Advanced survey of ‘the Main Causes of Christmas Stress’). For students, we have another problem: our bank accounts don’t like it! Be sure to budget and even shop online as this means you’ll have less to cram into your suitcase to go back home. From personal experience, it is not fun trying to squeeze a big suitcase onto a packed Transpennine train for 3 hours, so plan ahead and deliver them to your home address!

3. Get plenty of sleep, keep warm and eat well!
With all the careful planning and work it’s easy to forget to look after yourself! A good, healthy routine is even more essential in winter when the days are so long, cold and dark. Mercola’s ‘How Sunlight Affects your Mental Health’ study suggests a link between fewer hours of daylight and poor mental health. Make time for yourself! Cook a meal Michelin Star restaurants would be proud of, wrap up warm and don’t be frightened to clamber into your pyjamas nice and early.

So, if all the Christmas to-do lists are weighing you down, follow these three simple, yet, handy tips for a more relaxed festive period!