Combat Stress This Christmas With These Top Expert Tips

Christmas can be a very stressful time of year, so we’ve asked our top holistic experts for their best tips and recommendations to combat stress this festive season.

Palma Michel, Transformational Coach & Mindfulness Teacher

When difficult emotions surface, instead of distracting yourself, notice where the emotion is located in your body and feel the feeling in the body while saying calming and compassionate words to yourself.

When you feel stressed out about making a decision, take a decision break. Give yourself a day or a week where you take the pressure off yourself and revisit the subject after that time.

When life feels overwhelming, place one hand on your heart and feel your breath in your heart. Think of anything in your life that you appreciate and replay some of the happy moments in your past.

Jane Sorrell, Qualified Emotional Freedom Techniques Practitioner: 

My favourite stress relief tip is a 'tapping' exercise which you can do in 2 minutes. Tapping, or Emotional Freedom Techniques affect the body's biochemistry and have been clinically shown to instantly reduce the stress hormone cortisol. Tapping lightly, directly on your collarbone around an inch or two from the hollow of your throat, using either hand (or both) whilst breathing slowly and deeply. This sends signals to the amygdala, the fight-or-flight part of the brain, to calm down and relax. For added impact as you breath out you can imagine you’re releasing stress with each exhale.

Gabriela Peacock, Founder Of GP Nutrition 

1. Be mindful of bedtime habits
Good-quality sleep helps to keep cortisol (the stress hormone) in check, while poor sleep leaves hormones erratic, disrupting cortisol throughout the day. Good-quality sleep starts with the habits and routine we follow before we get into bed each night.

  • Reduce screen time 30-60 minutes before bed
  • Keep the temperature in the bedroom cool (18 degrees is optimal)
  • Try to stick to a regular sleep/wake time

2. Limit inflammatory foods
Certain types of food aggravate the intestinal lining. This varies from person to person, but by limiting the following foods you're giving your body a head start!

  • Processed meat (sausages, bacon, hot dogs)
  • Refined carbohydrates and sugary foods (sweets, white bread, white rice, pasta, pastries, fizzy drinks, biscuits)
  • Artificial trans fats (margarine, fried food)
  • Excessive alcohol

By limiting alcohol, you will also see an increase in sleep quality helping to balance cortisol.

3. Adopt adaptogens
Adaptogens are plants that have been used for centuries in traditional medicine, naturally encouraging the body to cope with the effects of stress, as well as helping build resistance to it. Some of my favourite adaptogens for stress include; Ashwagandha, Siberian ginseng, maca and medicinal mushrooms such as Reishi and Cordyceps.

When shopping for an adaptogen supplement, look for those formulated with Magnesium. Magnesium is nature's relaxant, helping the body to wind down and aids sleep.

Claudia Armani, Health Coach, Founder Of The Healthy Gourmet

  • Make it a priority to re-charge. Whether this is scheduling in a break during your busy day, taking time off at the weekend, doing a digital detox or cooking a healthy meal, make sure that you schedule some me time in your diary. This will help you cope better with a busy and stressful week. Now make it a habit.
  • Do more of what you love. Take advantage of your time off to reconnect with yourself and rediscover your true passions or simply take time to wonder. 
  • Do a digital detox and spend less time on social media. This will free up time for self-care, reducing exposure to stressful news cycles and reducing social media peer pressure, helping you create a mental space for yourself and the things that matter the most for you.

Michelle Roques-O'Neil, Spiritual Health & Wellness Expert And Founder Of Therapie

1. Breathe
From my experience, breath is one of the best stress busting tools we have; there are many techniques out there each offering its own benefitS. Abdominal breathing grounds and calms, Fire breathing builds energy, releaseS anger and frustration-Vagal breathing is very effective for stress; and when used in conjunction with essential oils it can be a deep instant release. Just breathe in through the nose slowly for a count of 4, then hold the breath for the same length, exhale slowly and gently through the nose-rest and repeat this cycle 5-10 times.

2. Essential oils
The essential oils that I would use for stress are as follows: Vetiver for when you feel too in your head and ungrounded, Rose when your heart feels contracted and overheated, Lavender will calm and reassure, Neroli to sedate the nervous system and Frankincense when you feel vulnerable and too open. Patchouli to soothe and still the mind. Essential oils are subtle and nuanced knowing the right oils helps you get straight to the heart of the stress with breath work or by anointing on specific locations on the body. Another key centre associated with stress is the Solar plexus, found between the diaphragm and navel, you can apply a drop of soothing oil and massage it over the area with an anti-clockwise stroke using the palm of your hand. Add a few abdominal breathes and repeat the massage, alternate 3-5 times.

Jenya Di Pierro, Herbal Medicine Practitioner; Founder of Cloud Twelve

One of the best Ayurvedic recipes that helps to reduce inflammation and stress and promote restful sleep is Golden milk with Ashwagandha.


  • 1 cup milk, or unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1 tsp ashwagandha powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 (1/2-inch) piece of organic ginger unpeeled, thinly sliced
  • Pinch of black pepper (increases bioavailability or turmeric)


  • Whisk milk, or non-dairy milk, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, pepper, and ashwagandha in a small saucepan
  • Bring to a low boil
  • Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes
  • Alternatively use a milk frother to whisk the milk and mix the powder into it. (Best non-dairy milk for frothing is Oatly Oat Drink Barrista Edition)

Pippa Campbell, a Functional Nutritionist, Nutrigenomics Practitioner and Weight Loss Expert

1. Say No to stress!
In clinic we still find that many people can reduce their stress. We cannot get rid of all the causes so we try to help the client manage that stress but often they can reduce it. Stop saying YES to everything! We are not superwomen! Women usually put themselves last after family. Take on less and find one thing a day for YOU.

2. Eat more protein

It really supports the adrenals. Try a protein-rich breakfast such as eggs or if in a hurry, make a protein shake.

If this blog has got you interested in starting your wellness journey call our wellness advisors at 020 7843 3597 or enquire here.

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