Michael van Straten
Michael van Straten

Stress Can Ruin Christmas - But Not Yours!

Stress Can Ruin Christmas - But Not Yours!

It’s supposed to be the season of goodwill to all men, but how often is that the truth. You dash round the shops in total panic looking for all those last minute Christmas presents, cocktail sticks and spare bulbs for the tree lights. Everywhere is packed, you’re in a panic and so is everyone else. You get pushed, shoved, jostled, hot and more bad tempered by the minute. Hardly a promising start to the festive season.

Christmas is one of the most stressful times of the year, especially for the family member organising it, and you don’t need me to tell you it’s usually the woman of the house. The anxiety begins in September when the Christmas packaging, decorations and gift boxes start appearing in the stores, and culminates in the traditional turkey meal with all the trimmings. Apart from the worry and tension of buying the presents, writing the Christmas cards – does HE ever help, doing the shopping, and getting the meal on the table?

Make sure that you are prepared in advance by having these registered herbal remedies in your medicine cupboard. Take care though; the bathroom is not the best place as humidity can degrade most tablets. To give you a lift if you are down in the slumps, use KarmaMood, the registered extract of St John’s Wort, a long standing traditional herbal medicine for the relief of low mood and anxiety.

NiteHerb is the first ever registered traditional herbal medicine sold in the UK containing an extract of Valerian root. This plant is great to help you sleep when mild anxiety keeps you tossing and turning till the small hours.

If PMT is adding to your problems, then the answer wil be at hand if you have a pack of PremHerb. This is the only registered extract of Agnus Castus sold in the UK as a traditional remedy for premenstrual syndrome.
For more information on these natural medicines go to

This may all be a little tongue in cheek, but the stress of Christmas is very real and can be equally bad for those having to spend it on their own. People who may have lost a partner, single mums, divorced, the elderly, the single unemployed living in bed-sits. For these people the thought of everyone else in the world being with others and having a good time can be unbearable. It’s for all these reasons that the Samaritans, Relate and Age Concern, have more calls at this time of year than any other.

So, before you get to breaking point, here’s how you can reduce the stress at Christmas and cope better with the inevitable strains of trying to keep cheerful during the festive season.

First, check your personal stress level. It’s often difficult to take an objective view to see how badly you’re being affected. But there are common signs of stress which are easy to spot. Do you:
  • Feel near to tears much of the time.

  • Fidget, bite your nails or fiddle with your hair

  • Find it hard to concentrate, and impossible to make decisions.

  • Find it increasingly hard to talk to people.

  • Snap and shout at those around you at home and work.

  • Eat when you’re not hungry.

  • Feel tired much of the time.

  • Think that your sense of humour has gone for good.

  • Feel suspicious of others

  • No longer have any interest in sex

  • Sleep badly.

  • Drink and/or smoke more to help you through those difficult days

  • Ever feel that you just can’t cope

If you answer YES to more than four of these questions, you are stressed DO SOMETHING NOW or your Christmas will be a disaster!

Don’t forget that laughter is the best medicine so if all else fails, read the jokes in the Christmas crackers and, better still, don’t miss the replays of The Morecambe and Wise Show!

Stress Busting Herbs

The relaxing benefits of many herbs and spices have been used since the most ancient of times and they can be the perfect answer to your Christmas stress. You can take them as herbal teas, tablets, or even included in your cooking, and many are traditionally used in some of the Christmas favourites.

Passion flower. This beautiful plant has been used by herbalists since the middle ages for its gentle and non-addictive tranquillising benefits. It's great for relieving anxiety, especially when accompanied by insomnia. You can take it as herbal tea or get it in tablets from health stores. Look out for RelaxHerb, a traditional herbal medicine to relieve symptoms of stress and mild anxiety.

If everything’s piling on top of you and you’re starting to feel depressed, then St. John’s Wort is the natural answer. It’s the most effective treatment for mild to moderate depression and as long as you’re not taking blood thinning drugs like Warfarin or medication that suppresses your body’s immune system, then this herb is safer than any of the chemical antidepressant drugs.

Valerian was used by the ancient Greek and Roman physicians as a gentle sedative and the volatile oils it contains are extremely soothing and calming. Valerian tablets help relieve stress, anxiety and insomnia.

Hops are another wonderful anti-stress herb. Just having a bowl of the dried flowers in your bedroom or using a hop pillow will start the mental unwinding process.
Lavender, one of the most traditional calming herbs, can be used in cakes, biscuits, ice creams, or you can add a few drops of lavender oil to a bath. For the ultimate relaxation get your best friend or partner to give you a massage using five drops of lavender oil in two tablespoons of grape seed or sunflower seed oil.

Basil, rosemary, lemon balm and scented geranium are all wonderfully de-stressing so use plenty of them in cooking – scented geranium is particularly good with sweet dishes like stewed fruits or sorbets.

Finally, don’t forget the spices – nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves, widely used in traditional Christmas fare, and all of which are calming and mood improving. You can also add all of them to hot toddies and punches which will help you have a cool yule.

De-stressing Foods

Until they stop and really think about it, few people realise that there is a powerful link between food and stress and that this link is a two way street. What you eat and when, can trigger stress, make it worse, or improve it, and being stressed can have an equally powerful impact on when and what you eat too. We all know people whose reaction to being under pressure, or going through emotional upheavals is to eat more and more and gain weight, while there seems to be an equal number of people who, in the same situations, lose their appetites, stop eating properly and the pounds just drop off them.

In the run up to Christmas use this guide to keep you as stress free as possible:-
  • Never miss breakfast – people react worse to stress by the end of the day if they skip this vital meal

  • Have some brain-boosting protein at lunch time – meat, fish, poultry, cheese – with something starchy like bread, potatoes, rice or pasta for energy

  • In the evening more of the starchy foods to encourage relaxation and good sleep – pasta or rice with vegetables, a large jacket potato with cheese or egg, and plenty of fresh fruit

  • Keep your blood sugar levels constant through the day with snacks of dried fruit, fresh nuts and seeds, bananas, a small piece of cheese with biscuits to prevent mood swings

  • Cut down on these stress inducing foods: refined carbohydrates, sugar and sweetened fizzy drinks, tea and coffee, uncooked bran, alcohol

Taking some time out for yourself is one of the most important things you can do, so get away from everyone for a quiet read, a catnap or 15 minutes worth of soul-reviving yoga or mediation. Stress, tension and anxiety can spoil the happiest of holidays but following this practical festive guide will make sure you have a laid back Christmas.

Now Here Is A Special Xmas Bonus

This is your chance for a free health boost to help you over the over stressed and overindulged festive period!

Healthy eating means plenty of essential nutrients which most people don’t get enough of. In spite of all the information available most men, women and children do not meet their essential daily need for some vitamins and minerals:-
  • Over 95% of adults are deficient in folic acid

  • 60% of women are short of iron

  • 90% of men and women miss out on vitamin B6

  • 50% of women are short of vitamin A

  • 50% of children don’t get enough vitamins A, B12, folic acid, D or E

  • Many adults and children lack calcium, iron, zinc and selenium

At this time of the year optimum nutrition is more important than ever. High levels of immune boosting nutrients; maximum intake of energy producing ingredients; substances to balance your hormones and the special vitamins and minerals for good skin and hair are what we all need.

A good quality multi vitamin and mineral supplement is a major factor in the long term help your body and mind require to fight infections, winter blues, stress and anxiety.

Special Offer for Michael’s Readers
So here is your chance of a free pack of Nature’s Way, Alive Women’s 50+ and Men’s 50+ multi vitamin and mineral supplements. Nature’s Way unique blend of dried fruit and vegetable extracts.

TWO FREE SAMPLE PER PERSON – Offer ends 28th February 2017

FREE Alive! Women's 50+ Multi-vitamin & Multi-mineral worth £8.99 at RSP
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Click here to visit the Nature’s Way web-site. Use the Discount Code WOM50+MVS.

FREE Alive! Men's 50+ Multi-vitamin & Multi-mineral worth £8.99 at RSP
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Click here to visit the Nature’s Way web-site. Use the Discount Code MAN50+MVS.


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Migraine Misery?


MigraHerb® Feverfew capsules.

MigraHerb® is a traditional herbal medicinal product used for the prevention of migraine headaches exclusively based upon long-standing use as a traditional remedy. Always read the label.

tickLessens frequency and severity of migraine attacks

tickFor people who have a doctor's diagnosis for this condition

MigraHerb® 30 one-a-day capsules.
Normally £8.16
NOW £6.90
Save £1.26.

» For more information visit www.migraherb.co.uk

De-stress and Energise!


Vitano® Rhodiola rosea tablets.

Vitano® is a traditional herbal medicinal product used for the temporary relief of symptoms associated with stress, such as fatigue, exhaustion and mild anxiety, based on traditional use only. Always read the label.

tickHelps revive both mental and physical performance

tickBalances a hectic lifestyle... naturally!

Vitano® 30 tablets normally £13.27
NOW £9.90 - Save £3.37.
Multi-buy deal also available.

» For more information visit www.vitano.co.uk

Not Sleeping?


NiteHerb® Valerian tablets.

NiteHerb® is a traditional herbal medicinal product used for the temporary relief of sleep disturbances due to symptoms of mild anxiety exclusively based on long-standing use as a traditional remedy. Always read the label.

tickA natural solution to a good night's sleep

tickWake up revived - not groggy!

NiteHerb® 30 tablets normally £6.12
NOW £5.20 - Save £0.92.
Multi-buy deal also available.

» For more information visit www.niteherb.co.uk