Back in the 19th century, you may have had time to wrap a garland of evergreens around the staircase, rustle up some home-made brandied fruits or bake a giant goose pie.

But preparing for a 21st century Christmas can be a stressful affair. These days there’s a lot to live up to – and the preparations start around October.

According to mental health charity Mind, Christmas is the time of year people are most likely to experience depression, anxiety or loneliness.

But it needn’t be so stressful, says Yorkshire vitality and mind management coach Lisa Clifford (pictured), who helps individuals and businesses achieve their potential and approach life in a positive way. A master practitioner of neuro-linguistic programming and hypnosis, trained by Paul McKenna, Lisa runs motivational events and helps people overcome phobias, and bad habits.

Planning ahead is essential, says Lisa. “We put so much pressure on ourselves to make Christmas special by being everything to everyone and neglecting ourselves,” says Lisa. “By taking simple steps such as thinking positively, eating healthily and setting goals, your mind can overcome negativity and you’ll have the energy to enjoy Christmas.”

Lisa’s top tips for surviving the 12 days of Christmas: Alcohol: “While an occasional drink may help you relax and get you into the spirit, alcohol is a depressant and can affect your mood for days,” says Lisa. “Try cutting back until Christmas; by then you’ll feel healthier and more inclined to take it easy on the booze.

Food: “Just because it’s dark and cold, we don’t have to stop eating healthily,” says Lisa. “Opt for salads, chicken and lighter meals to keep your energy and vitality levels up.”

Set your boundaries: “Limit the number of party invitations you accept and scale down Christmas Day – don’t feel you have to ask all the family. Think about what makes the day special for you.”

Remind yourself what’s important at Christmas: “Is it fun and laughter or a day for your loved ones to come together? Visualise your ideal Christmas and write an action plan.”

Don’t break the bank: “Personalised presents are often more cost-effective and mean more to people,” says Lisa. Wrap presents as you go and make a list of what you’ve bought and wrapped for each person.

Delegate jobs: “List who can do what – cleaning, shopping for the wine, putting the tree up, writing Christmas cards,” says Lisa. Make your Christmas dinner last and have a break between courses: “Letting a course settle gives you and your helpers chance to clear and prepare the next course and allows you to really enjoy the day.”

Keep drinking water between glasses of alcohol: “It’ll keep your energies alive.”

Ask each guest to bring or plan a game: It shares the load of the entertaining and means you’ll have some surprises in store.

Finally, remember you’re not expected to be perfect: “You are the host who has opened your heart and your home and that alone is wonderful!” smiles Lisa.

For more information ring Lisa on 07795 634671 or visit