By Kate Guest, Dec 1 2015 03:00AM

Don’t let stress sabotage your peace and goodwill – not to mention good looks – in the countdown to Christmas. Rosanna Rothery shows you how. I T’S December. From now until the day after boxing day – when I intend to slump into the sofa in a Prosecco-induced stupor and watch back-to-back box sets of Breaking Bad – it’s going to be roundthe-clock activity.

Christmas shopping, seasonal shindigs, decking the halls, knocking up a Christmas cake, ordering the turkey and bribing small children to wrap presents for me. Stress, stress, stress. How quickly the season of peace and goodwill turns into Jingle Hell and mistletoe and whine. Our appearance suffers too: tell-tale haggard hollows under the eyes and tresses as wild as wild and frizzy as a Bornean orangutan. Not to mention a complexion that’s turned an attractive shade of putty.

Add to that the inevitable weariness and fatigue that often weakens the immune system and we find ourselves brazening through Jingle Bells with a mightily sore throat. Seasonal bleatings everyone! Now, working on the simple premises that time invested in yourself is never wasted time, this year we must avoid any such Nightmare Before Christm a s. No matter how pressing the schedule, time out for some outrageously indulgent pampering is a must. Surely that will make us far more productive with our remaining time, right? Well that’s my theory a ny w ay ! We will emerge immune to screaming children and beeping robots in the toy department. We will stay serene – even after we have sat on Santa’s lap-top (or lap). And, having dressed ourselves appropriately for a hike in the Highlands, we’ll craftily shed a layer or two before entering that uncomfortably heated shopping centre. Just a little bit of self-care and spoiling and we will be sure to have ourselves a Merry Little Christmas after all.

BUT what if the darker nights, the draining bank balance and tricky family dilemmas leave you feeling down? You might consider talking it over with an exper t. Kate and Stuart Guest, from Braunton, are trained in clinical hypnotherapy and NLP coaching. A one-to-one session might just help put perspective into the pre-Christmas panic. “Swap stress for creativity this Christmas,” advised Kate. “Choose to engage in the festivities with a fun approach. Look back at what went well in previous Christmas celebrations and what didn’t go so well so that you can change that for this year.”

Kate also advises, rather than focusing on your stress, you could reflect on what you have already achieved. “Try goal setting, tick things off your list as you go along and see the list diminish. Remember to laugh wherever and whenever you can. “We can’t change the fact that Christmas comes round every year. We can, however, change to a positive and less stressful way to enjoy it.” Kate believes if we are struggling, NLP coaching could give us the opportunity to change our behaviour, attitudes and beliefs.

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Kate Guest - Results Coach

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