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Looking after your family this festive season

Keep your family healthy and happy over the festive period with these tips and ideas.

Most of us look forward to the holidays. It’s the perfect time to spend quality time with family and friends, looking back at the year just gone and gearing up for the year ahead.

However, overindulgence and the disruption to the normal routine can leave you with a potentially grumpy, unhealthy and disorganised family. How can you ensure that every family member looks after themselves and each other at this time of year?

10 Tips for a happier Christmas

1 Get outside | Instead of sitting around eating, use your family time to get into the great outdoors. Perhaps pack up and go camping or set off on a hike in a local national park. Getting some exercise and fresh air will get everyone energised and back on track.

2 Delegate | Christmas load shouldn’t fall to one person. Right at the beginning of the holidays, delegate tasks to everyone. Make jobs such as wrapping presents, writing cards and cooking Christmas dinner the responsibility of every family member.

3 Catch up with family and friends | Are there some people you don’t see enough of during the hectic daily routine? Now could be the perfect time to visit the people who make you happy.

4 Factor in some downtime | Let’s face it, Christmas can be exhausting. Try and carve out some downtime for your family, either together or individually, to recharge your festive batteries. Take a walk, read a book, practice meditation - whatever helps you unwind for the next activity.

5 Sleep | With the disruption to the family routine, everyone’s sleeping patterns could shift. Try to encourage going to bed and waking up at similar times to the normal routine to make sure the family gets enough rest.

6 Quality time | It’s good to remember that Christmas is about sharing quality time rather than accumulating presents. Play games together and make a point of putting electronic devices away so you can fully concentrate on each other.

7 Create Christmas rituals | Create some family rituals this Christmas - for example, instead of an advent calendar with chocolate, how about asking the kids to donate small items of food to give to charity instead? Or get creative and have a gingerbread house decorating competition on Christmas Eve?

8 Care for those around you | Do you have elderly relatives or neighbours? Christmas can be a lonely and isolating time of year for some people without family nearby. Knock on the door of someone who would appreciate the gift of your time this Christmas.

9 A time for reflection | The holiday period can be a time to reflect on the past year and your intentions for the next year. But keep it simple - multiple resolutions can fail if we put too much pressure on ourselves.

10 Support | Seek help if you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed by Christmas. Keep an eye on friends and neighbours who might be lonely. Christmas and New Year can impact our mental health with feelings of anxiety and depression, so if you or someone you know needs help, pick up the phone to LifeLine on 13 11 14 or use the live chat on their website.

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The Parenting Resource is put together by our family specialists who work with families across Sydney every day.  If you would like to know more about this topic, please fill in our 'Contact Us' form and we'll get in touch.

Disclaimer: This article does not give professional advice.  The contents constitute general information of a summary nature of interest and relevance at the time of publication. You should not rely on the contents as professional advice but should seek, formal advice in particular matters relevant to your particular situation.

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