For the average working Aussie, the lead up to Christmas is often a mixture of work and last minute present buying. Half the time, we’re so busy trying to wrap up that project, see that last customer or cram in some time to buy presents that we kind of feel like Christmas is more of a chore than a season of joyful. Sound familiar?

If Christmas can sometimes be a bit of a headache for you, here are some tips to help you relax and feel good this Christmas.

Shopping blues

Make the most of a shopping trip with a half hour break – enjoy a coffee and a magazine or go get a half hour massage. Little treats on the side that are all about you will help you relieve a lot of the stress. If you’re working, make sure you go out to lunch or take a break in the sun. Or see if you can leave 20 minutes earlier for a glass of wine or that mini-manicure you’ve been wanting. If you absolutely can’t stand the thought of shopping out, trying buying ‘easy’ gifts such as Christmas hampers, toys, jewellery, DVDs and books from stores online – from the comfort of your own lounge!

Give a Little

Always been meaning to do this but just never gotten around to it? It may sound like yet another task you have to do, but giving just a little to those in need in Christmas time can be rewarding and it can make you feel great about yourself. You can donate directly to a cause or buy gifts from places like the Oxfam shop or you can even purchase things like charity Christmas cards or wrapping paper designed by the disabled.

Pamper Yourself

Surely in all the things that you have to do during Christmas time, you can find even just 1 or 2 hours to treat yourself to a pampering session at a nearby spa or salon. Massages, facials, body muds are the perfect way to unwind. If you simply can’t get away from the stress or if you’ve got kids, try a mind-calming bath complete with music, candles and bath oils. If you’re more of a ‘do-er’ than a ‘relax-er’, make room for that Yoga or aerobics session – even if it’s only for 45 mins, it’ll leave you feeling refreshed and full of energy.

Do something romantic

Whether you’re a couple or a big family with five kids, you should make time to do something romantic with your partner. It might be as simple as a cosy drink by the pool together or a dinner out in your favourite restaurant. Again, if you’ve got kids or if you’re surrounded by in-laws and relatives, wait til they’re in bed and snuggle up on the couch together or better yet, light some candles in your bedroom and get kissing. Dedicating just a little bit of time to your relationship will make you feel great and will do wonders for your romance amidst all the bedlam.

Spend time with your kids – or not!

If you’re a workaholic, Christmas can be a magical time when spending it with your kids. Turn it into a treat for both you and them and make an effort to do something with them that you normally wouldn’t do or get them to do something that’s also going to relax you. Trips to the movies, beaches, local swimming pools and parks are great for this. At home, you can try having a backyard camp or doing some arts and crafts.

If you’re a stay-at-home or a part-time Mum or Dad and you want a “kid break” see if they’re willing to head to a day or week-long camp with their friends, which will give you a little stretch of peace and quiet to enjoy.