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6 Survival Tips For A Stress Free Christmas

How to cope with Christmas

Surviving Christmas Stress:

I love that quote …“Think you’re enlightened? Spend a week with your family!”

For many, family is the messiest part of life. People just won’t do what we want them to do will theyHow to cope with Christmas!

Christmas holidays often mean spending prolonged periods of time with people who can push your emotional buttons, so what’s your plan to survive Christmas and the strong opinions or personalities that can arise at this time?  Check out my tips below.

1. Meditation

The Christmas holidays are a perfect time to develop a regular mediation habit. Start with  5 minutes, building to 7 and then 10 minutes a day by week two.  Along with enormous health benefits, at this time of year meditation can offer you the perfect excuse to get away and give yourself some much needed time and space. Check out my other blogs or click here for simple meditation techniques.

2. Breathe To Alleviate Boredom

I remember someone telling me of their dread of the office party and the boring conversations they had to endure each year. If you get stuck with the office bore try practising a simple breathing technique whilst they’re talking to you. Keep looking at the person and subtly bring your awareness to your nostrils, silently count One on your next inbreath, two before you breathe out, three as you exhale and four before you breathe in again. When you’ve counted 5 ‘whole’ breaths in this way make your excuses ” well, it’s been great catching up and I want to talk to …. now, enjoy the rest of the party” and run!

3. Develop compassion.

If step 2 seems a bit harsh, maybe you can develop the art of active listening? You’re with the office bore again (except you no longer refer to them in such a way) imagine you can drop down into a very peaceful space within and begin listening with an open heart, i.e. with absolutely no expectations, no desire to escape and without a need to fix them, question them or judge anything they say. Good luck with that!

4. Boundaries. Where are yours?

What is your tolerance level for a particular person? So for example you don’t get along with your sister can you sit open-heartedly listening to her for 5 minutes or 10? What and where is your limit? It’s important to know yourself in this respect. Think about these interactions ahead of time.  Once you’ve reached your tolerance level with that particular person have  an “I need to get up and get some water” statement handy, so that you can change your position and your state. Plan ahead, is it possible to arrange to sit next to someone you do enjoy talking to?

5. Booze. Is it time to monitor your intake?

At what point might you say something you could regret? If two drinks leave you merry and sweet but four make you a bit mouthy…  perhaps you need a plan. Think ahead. How do you want to feel when you wake up after you’ve been out partying? When you look back over the previous evening’s events do you want to be happy with your ruminations or will you be cringing because of something you said or did?  Will that extra drink make the difference?  Plan ahead and decide when enough is enough. Before you go out think about an alternative to alcohol get a really clear picture of it in your mind, for example imagine a nice glass of sparkling tonic water with a shot of lime cordial and a twist of lemon, or a pot of freshly brewed coffee.

6. Kindness

Christmas is an especially good time to be thoughtful, kind and generous to others but I hear so often of people (usually women) who have run themselves ragged trying to make the perfect Christmas for others only to end up ‘coming down with something’. So be kind to yourself first, it’s then easier to give authentically to others.  Make time for you and as you give yourself a bit of space  ask yourself “what do I want, what do I need.” When your cup is full there’s a tendency to only want for the good of others and if you’re okay,  you’re in a better position to take care of others.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blogs, visit the site and purchase products I really value your feedback.

Wishing my family, friends, clients, yoga students and readers a great Christmas and all you would wish for yourself throughout 2019.

Remember if you know of anyone who might benefit, my shop is stocked full of hypnosis programs designed to boost confidencecounter stress, deal with anxiety, sleep problems and other issues. Psst! Pass it on please…

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3 Simple Ways To Beat The Blues

January is renown for being the worse month for depression and there are many reasons for it. With the build-up to Christmas and the hype over, the extra lights in these dark months taken down, it feels gloomy and cold. Some people may have got into debt, some are dealing with redundancy, whilst others wrestle with existing mental health conditions such as Seasonal Affective Disorder or clinical depression.

If you’re lucky enough to be able to detect that you’re spiralling into a downer, that’s great  awareness and hopefully you already have some strategies that can help to pull you out of depression. Because this time of year can be particularly tough, challenge yourself to do something different to change your state.

I’ve put together three ideas to help shift negative energy.

Depression - Beat The Blues by Sue Smith The Stresshacker


Calm your mind with classical music, even if it’s not your usual genre (e.g. my usual choice is jazz) take a chance, open your mind and listen to a nice classical piece. Ask a friend for a recommendation or visit Classic FM until you find something that  resonates most with you.

Depression - Beat The Blues by Sue Smith The Stresshacker
Make Music & Change Your State

Apparently baroque is the best music to have playing in the background to help concentrate if you’re studying. So the next time you’re getting ready for work, or doing some mundane chores treat yourself to something calming and different.

On the other hand if you feel really heavy, stuck and lethargic put on something with a strong loud beat, such as We Will Rock You by Queen or the 1812 Overture to help you get moving. Put on your earphones and go for a stomping power walk whilst listening to some heavy rock. Whatever your choice of music make sure it’s one that will positively change your (emotional) state.  Find a song you can sing along out loud to, it’s great for getting your breathing going (we don’t breathe very well when depression kicks in) … think Whitney Houston’s long held notes in I Will Aways Love You. 


I downloaded the Gayatri Mantra (Click to view video about it) which I found incredibly peaceful. I noticed that after I’d listened to it for a while it, it continued playing in the background of my mind. It gets rid of some of the negative head mush and I’m left with a peaceful mind for quite a while. Traditionally it should be chanted 108 times. I turn to it now whenever I need to de-clutter my mind and it works a treat. My favourite version is by Deva Premal.


In our age of abundant technology many of us feel spaced out and insulated from the earth. Walking around in rubber soled trainers and padded foot wear means we miss some of the finer signals from the earth and this can contribute to feeling even more disconnected and separate.

Depression - Beat The Blues by Sue Smith The Stresshacker
Get Grounded.

Connect to the earth; she’s warm and nurturing! Don’t take my word for it, walk barefoot on some grass and see how long it is before your feet feel the warmth of Gaia. The energy that comes up from the earth through the feet stimulates hundreds of nerves in the legs and brings with it a sense of connection which you may feel as a tingling or pulsing sensation.

When you consider that no matter where we are in the world we are held by gravity to mother earth it seems daft not to spend a little time tuning in to it.

As always, I’m interested in what shakes you out of your depression so share it with me … it could helps someone else.

Also please look at our products and courses in The Stresshacker store to help assist you with your journey.


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If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Wow! What a response. Thank you for the feedback from last weeks blog I shall be using the suggestions and insights from you in the coming year. I’ve had a break from running workshops for a couple of years and intend to start them again in 2016 so get your name down quick if you’re interested because historically, the spaces fill quickly.

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

I’ve started several blogs for this week, none of which I seemed able to finish!

So I’m going to keep this one short and just share a few tips for getting ahead of the game with Christmas looming.

Stress hack: Save time and make a list.

I know lists are boring but not as much as dragging around shop after shop looking for that ideal gift. Snuggle down with a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie and really give some thought to each person that you’re going to buy for, really think about what they might like or what suits them. Just half an hour spent doing this should give you a plan.

Can you save any time by shopping online?

I know it’s stating the obvious but can you cut down on the shopping trips by making some of your purchases online? Check it out, you can buy just about anything online nowadays.

If you’re like me and actually enjoy the atmosphere and idea of a bit of Christmas shopping, set a day aside for it and make sure you schedule a couple of breaks in for yourself, a nice coffee somewhere and a light lunch should  stop you from feeling grumpy! It’s easy to go into overwhelm when you go into the bigger stores and many of us space out, wandering around without a plan. Decide which shops and departments you’re going into and put them in some sort of order.

Put an evening or afternoon aside. Play a good old mushy Christmas film or some seasonal music and wrap your gifts in one fell swoop! Job done.

If you’re entertaining do the same thing. Sit and plan your dinner party or gathering when you’re in a peaceful space.Chris

Think through the evening from start to finish, work out timings including your own space for getting ready and having a bit of time to relax before the event starts.  Little things like preparing garnish ahead of time, slicing lemon for drinks and having them in a bag in your freezer can save time.  As can thinking ahead about something as simple as what dishes you’ll put the crisps in will allow you to do these jobs robotically or to ask someone else who’s helping out to follow your list. You stand more chance of enjoying your own evening by planning ahead.

If you’ve got any great tips to share remember to email in.

If you’ve run out of Christmas present ideas, I’ve got a bumper sale coming up in my shop so keep your eyes peeled and I’ll be in touch soon.

Sue x


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Are you ready for Christmas?

I know, you probably don’t want to hear that it’s about five weeks until the Christmas holidays, but it is!

santaWhat kind of Christmas would you really like to have?

Try the following exercise to ensure that you get as close to that desirable Christmas as possible.

Close your eyes and in your imagination take yourself forward to the end of January. From there look back at Christmas, what was it like? What images come to mind? Do they seem light and bright or heavy and dark? Are they moving and buoyant or listless and stationary? What if anything can you hear? Are they nice pleasant words and conversations or disagreements? How do you feel as you look back at Christmas do you feel happy and peaceful, rested in your body? Or agitated and unsettled? Do you have any regrets? In retrospect do you wish you had been kinder or more patient? Do you wish you’d drunk less or eaten less? Do you wish you had seen more of some of your friends and less of your family or more of your family and less of your friends? As you look back do you wish you had given more time to someone? If you could change something … and that change must be dependant upon you doing something differently, what would that change be?

Now open your eyes and give some thought to what you want your Christmas to be like. Perhaps start from a selfish perspective and aim to honour yourself and your needs and desires by asking yourself “what do I want, what do I need”. Once you know this, you can begin to look at any compromise needed to accommodate those you love and care about.

Traditionally Christmas is a time of giving and it’s important to give time to ourselves and attend to our own needs, so that we have something left over to give to others in an authentic genuine way. If you martyr yourself by running yourself ragged to make sure that everyone else is happy, will you genuinely enjoy the Christmas break? Or will you harbour resentment because you didn’t do the things that you wanted to do?

In an effort to know what you really want to do why not Spend 5 minutes answering these questions.

At an unconscious level people are able to sniff out inauthenticity so remember to take care of yourself  as well as you take care of others.

On the other hand if you party right up to  Christmas Eve and then travel home depositing yourself on your family’s doorstep expecting to use the time to recover and be taken care of … maybe it’s time to be a little less selfish and think about how you can help out and make this a great Christmas for all of your family.

I know it maybe seems a bit early to consider these things but if you wait until nearer the time, you just might find that you say yes when you mean to say no and end up feeling dissatisfied with how you spend your time so give yourself some space to consider what you want and need.

You might find my survival tips for a stress-free Christmas handy too.




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Ready for next Christmas? Spend 5 minutes answering these questions for a happier 2015

Start planning for Christmas nowPhew! Well that’s Christmas over with for another year. I hope you had a good time and stayed relaxed and stress-free.

I know it seems a bit early, but this is actually a really good time to look ahead to Christmas 2015.

With this Christmas still fresh in your mind, there may be certain things that you want to do differently

Start planning your next Christmas now! Christmas break will be a long weekend in 2015, with Christmas day falling on Friday, so plan ahead for how you want to do things and spend your time.

Go to your diary and have a quick look at what time you might have off. You may need to get in early to book certain days. If you’re self-employed or your time is more your own, how would you like that time to be spent?

Start with the end in mind

How was your Christmas this year? Maybe you feel like you spent too much time with one side of the family, or you are wondering why you see so many relatives when you’d rather be with friends. Perhaps you want to make more effort to invite people over, or you want to make sure you get more thoughtful presents for people who always get left till last.

Start shopping early

If you find present buying stressful, diarise to start your shopping earlier – in November say – so that it’s not a last-minute rush. Perhaps you could start a list in the  notes section on your phone of the things you want or would like to give others as presents.

Make a note of people who you could buy certain bits and pieces for throughout the year so that you take some of the strain off, leaving you free to enjoy the festivities a bit more.

I was so impressed with how beautifully one friend had wrapped her presents this year and when I picked her brains to find out her method, I discovered she sets a theme for the year. I found out where she buys her ribbon and wrapping paper and I made a note to go there in late November 2015 and be ahead of the game!

Make it YOUR Christmas

Whatever you do, plan to make your next Christmas the kind of Christmas YOU want, not something others expect from you. If you always feel obliged to do something with the same people and want a change, start thinking now about what that might involve.

Next week we are going to look at how to set a few goals for the year. In the meantime, I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to read these posts and to wish you a fantastic 2015.

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These are my essential survival tips for a stress-free family Christmas

How to cope with ChristmasAs Christmas approaches it can be a time of mixed emotions. There’s such a lot of schmaltzy advertising and just about everywhere you look there are images of perfect Christmas scenes.

This is not the reality for many people. Over the years I have worked with clients who dread being thrown together with relations they clash with or can just about tolerate. The struggle for these people is to honour themselves without becoming too accommodating and acquiescent in the process.

Continue reading These are my essential survival tips for a stress-free family Christmas