By Dr Dan Robertson

Have yourself a stress-free Christmas

We've all been there. Running around like a headless chicken picking up presents on Christmas Eve, visiting every supermarket that's still open to find a jar of cranberry sauce, and arguing with loved ones over the turkey. Christmas can be stressful.

Whether it's worrying about how much you have to do, working over the festive period, dealing with your family or trying to figure out how it'll impact your finances, there's a lot to think about.

If you're feeling stressed, it's important to remember that help is available. You could talk to family or friends about how you feel, a doctor, or someone else. Whoever it is, it's important not to keep it bottled up.

To help you keep calm in the run up to the big day, we've put together our top 5 tips to help you plan a little better, so you can actually put your feet up, relax and spend quality time with your loved ones.

1. Write a 'to do' list

First things first, write down everything that you need to do, from posting Christmas cards, to picking up the tree.

You can even make a couple of mini lists, like what you need to pick up on the food shop, who you need to buy presents for, or the dates of anything you have going on - nativity plays, carol services etc.

When you've got it all written down, you can start to tackle it bit by bit, helping you to focus on the task in hand, rather than everything else that's going on.

2. Start your shopping early

There's nothing worse than realising you have 10 presents still to get on Christmas Eve. This year, don't leave it till the last minute, get on it now if you haven't already.

The same applies to your food shop. Buy anything you can freeze early on, which not only spreads the cost, but means you've less to think about in Christmas week.

We probably don't need to tell you that both present and food shopping is easier to do online, but it can really help with your stress levels. Packed shopping centres and supermarkets are hard to deal with at the best of times, so add Christmas into the mix and they can become a nightmare!

Try ways of saving money

If your finances are tight, don't feel pressure to spend a fortune on people. You could make gifts yourself - a big batch of homemade chutney or chocolate truffles will go down well and doesn't cost the earth.

Alternatively, why not agree a budget with your family now? Or you could set up a Secret Santa, so you all give and receive one gift.

4. Don't do it on your own

If you've agreed to host Christmas dinner, ask your guests to get involved so it becomes a team effort.

You could request that one person brings the pudding, another provides the crackers, and someone else could help with the table decorations. It's easy to say yes to everything, but this will only add to your stress levels, and we bet your guests will be more than happy to lend a hand.

Alternatively, cheat! There's no harm in buying pre-made stuffing or gravy - no one will know the difference and it'll mean one less thing to worry about.

5. Look after yourself

This is probably our most important tip. Getting stressed out over Christmas can take its toll on your mental and physical health. Make sure you get enough sleep, exercise and time out to relax.

Take it easy on the caffeine and alcohol, make sure you drink plenty of water, and if you do eat lots of chocolate and treats, balance it out withfruit and veg too.

And if you're feeling stressed, talk about it. Our doctors are here for you everyday this Christmas period. Find out more.

Read more stress-busting tips here.