Deep breath…Christmas is 5 weeks away, and you’ve got presents, food, family, holidays and more to deal with. But it doesn’t have to be a nightmare! Psychologist Dr Mary Casey shows us how to manage stress in the lead-up to Christmas.

1. Make a list

The best thing to do is make a list of what you have to do and observe and identify which ones stress you out the most and then work out a way that you can achieve what you want with the least stress. For instance if finances are the problem and you are a bit strapped for cash this year then check out some ways you can be creative and make some meaningful presents. Friends and family love these most anyway.

2. Focus on what brings you joy

Plan your events and delete any that aren’t going to bring you joy and happiness. If someone has asked you to something that you really don’t want to go to, be polite and thank them and say that you need to decline.

3. Learn to say ‘NO’ if you are a ‘YES’ person

Otherwise you must suffer the consequences. Good friends are okay with you saying ‘no’. Remember that those who have a problem with it are not friends at all.

4. Put yourself first

If you are not in great shape, fresh, happy and motivated, then you are not much help to others.

Mary has over 30 years’ experience in health and education and specialises in counselling and personal development. She is founder and CEO of the Casey Centre, a leading integrated health and education service with more than250 and 700 graduates a year in three centres across NSW. Visit www.caseycentre.com.au.