Looking after yourself during the festive period

Despite being known as the season of good cheer, this time of the year can be challenging. We welcome any tips on finding peace and contentment and share some of our wellbeing support pages: Your health and wellbeing | Carers UK

Keep things simple.

Do you really HAVE to cook a huge turkey with all the trimmings? Why not consider something special but much easier to prepare to reduce the stress levels and the amount of work needed.

I’ve boasted about having Cottage Pie on 25th, but it will not be just “Cottage Pie” it will be “Chris’ Cottage Pie” (like M&S but on a budget!) - lean minced steak in a red wine gravy (buy a ready-made stock pot for ease - like stock cubes if you haven’t seen them) with frozen mixed veg added part way through cooking. Ready made mashed spuds (only time I cheat with them) with finely shredded leeks sauteed in butter added to the mash. A good sprinkling of grated cheese and (if prepared the day before) bung it in the oven for 30-40 mins to heat through and crisp the cheesy top. (Calculated the total cost is around £5 and can serve 4, or two with our appetites). I serve with Brussels Sprouts cos we LOVE them and can never get enough (Vicar of Dibley eat your heart out) - that means on Xmas Day - one pan and one dish to wash up other than our plates and cutlery … If you want more - a very simple starter of frozen garlic mushrooms (in oven for 15 mins and they cook/crisp nicely) with a tub or jar of dip… Then if you want/need a pud - frozen profiteroles with chocolate sauce and maybe some double cream.

Oh my indulgence this year is CHEESE. BUT that makes for an easy meal one evening with a box of crackers, a bottle of wine and take your time to savour the different textures and flavours. (Followed by all the dreams)

My son with learning difficulties tells people he’ll have a cooked roast turkey on Christmas Day, then “scraps”. I plan ahead carefully, and have two large freezers, the second one came during Covid. So useful.There are raw pastry cases that can become either a quiche or a Bakewell tart, or treacle tart, with just a few minutes work. I couldn’t manage without my dishwasher and my Magimix food processor, as my hands are now very arthritic I often say we are a family of mice, as we all love cheese. At some point there will be a sherry trifle and a lemon cheesecake, and there is plenty of quick cooking party food in the freezer if anyone drops in. If you have an air fryer, do try frozen sausage rolls and frozen pastries. It’s not often all four of us are here together, two sons, grandson, and me so I like it to be an enjoyable time for everyone. Eldest son’s birthday is mid January, mine’s the end of February, and then M’s birthday is mid March. Having everything in the freezer means virtually no waste. Eldest son hates carving, so this year we are having an Aldi stuffed rolled turkey breast, again, really easy.

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I am setting the car SatNav to Auto Pilot now - darn it I don’t have your postcode!

Oh BTW - I think I have 12 different cheeses in the fridge - that is REALLY embarrassing!!! I couldn’t resist the offers.


Delegate tasks. This is what I’ve done each year and it works


My eldest son told me a while ago that me looking after myself was more important to him than anything else. So this Christmas, maybe grabbing a few minutes peace and quiet in your room is more important to your own wellbeing than making something or doing something? You are doing enough already.


Thank you all for sharing great tips for looking after yourself during the festive period. I hope you enjoyed the lovely recipes and had a peaceful Christmas!