Enjoy a break - but always think of others

NOW is a particularly peculiar time of year, a week which somehow falls between two stools. Is it still Christmas or do we start gearing up for Hogmanay?

Should we start clearing up the mess from the last set of festivities? Or wait until the next one has passed?

The frenzied activity in the build-up to December 25 – present-buying, turkey-basting, tree-decorating – all reaches a climax just as our stress levels reach breaking point.

And if you have a family you'll know there is no let-up.

Christmas is relentless, and for those with a large family it goes on and on.

So even by now you may still have packed houses and, pretty soon, empty cupboards.

Spare a thought for those who don't get a rest in between these two important dates, and make the most of your own festive cessation.

Also try, as best you can, to start reverting back to some kind of normal life and equilibrium.

The sooner you start the sooner it will be achieved, even taking the impending New Year's Eve into consideration.

Any attempt to unwind is a wise move. Recharging the batteries is an essential step if you intend to celebrate again on December 31. Burning out by tomorrow is not an option.

But perhaps the most important thing to remember is that this, after all, is your time for a potential break.

If you're fortunate enough not to be working or at least to have time off from work, make the most of the fact that you can now sit down and put your feet up.

There are few moments in a year when you can forget the day job for a while and not have to prepare for another mode of stress: the family vacation.

This is a rare chance to spend time with your loved ones without all the related stress of packing bags, changing currency and buying sun lotion.

This a moment when you can enjoy quality time with those you care about, gather round to play a board game, watch a movie together, even go for a walk in the wintery wonderland which is currently making things feel that little bit more Christmassy.

Meanwhile, think of those who aren't fortunate enough to be spending time with their loved ones, those who live alone or separated from their dearest who may not be near.

Do whatever you can to help anyone you may know who isn't as fortunate as yourself, who may just want a little company.

They might have had less stress, but they probably haven't enjoyed themselves quite so much either.

Now may feel like a peculiar time of year, but the truth is it is merely a special time of year.

Make the most of it. Make it special for yourself, your family and anyone else you can help.

Everyone deserves a merry Christmas and everyone deserves a happy New Year, don't leave anything to chance – make it happen.