Christmas Day can be pretty intense. Even for the most outgoing person, the idea of being cooped up with your nearest and dearest for 12 hours straight with nothing but food, alcohol and polite conversation to pass the time can be a little daunting. For someone like me – a textbook introvert – the frivolities of the big day are my worst nightmare. I’m not hugely looking forward to it, but I do have a few techniques up my sleeve to help the day go as smoothly as possible….

Get enough sleep

It’s tempting to go out on Christmas Eve and have a few too many drinks to ease your nerves about the following day, but make sure you still get a good night’s sleep after you socialise. I find my temper is shorter when I’m tired and I have no patience with anyone. It also makes me gravitate towards the Quality Street to keep my energy up, which then makes my anxiety worse as I ride the unpredictable sugar-high whilst trying to remain calm in front of relatives. I’ve heard people say that you often wake up in the frame of mind you had when you went to bed, so try and have a relaxing evening to keep yourself level-headed.

Keep busy

Although I’m a firm believer in keeping my calendar as clear as possible, I also find I’m happier when I’m distracted with day-to-day jobs. OK not always happier, but I’m definitely less anxious and that’s the path to happiness in my world. This doesn’t mean socialising for hours on end but simply keeping my mind and body occupied with enjoyable tasks. For me these include blogging, reading, cooking and exercising. Offer to help chop the vegetables, set the table, clear away used wrapping paper and keep everyone’s drink topped up as a way to keep busy.

Get outside

With that in mind, you may want to take your exercise to the outdoors. Getting some fresh air whilst the turkey is cooking is a nice way to relax before sitting down to a formal meal where the conversation can get heated. Offer to take the dog a walk, or get the kids away from the TV for an hour and you’ll find yourself refreshed with a clearer head, ready to enjoy the rest of the day.

Plan time with people who understand

We all have those friends you just get us. They let us be ourselves and there are no awkward silences when we’re together. They let us vent endlessly about our problems and often have the answers to them too. These are the people that should be by your side on Christmas Day. If you can, try and plan to see them in the evening once the festivities have died down, or at least keep in touch via text message or Face Time. Even if you’re feeling terrible, they’ll listen to what you have to say and help ease the burden of a busy day.

Are you ready for Christmas Day?