The pressure to buy, buy, buy puts stress on our planet, our wallets and our mental health. At this time of year, we know it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But it doesn’t need to be the case. Although Christmas might be a time when we indulge tradition, we don’t always have to fall into old patterns. We have the power to make positive changes that help ourselves, our communities and the planet.

The need for change is compelling. The planet can’t keep up with our demands. Earth Overshoot Day is 8th August and it gets earlier every year. That's the day when we use more resources than the earth can replenish in that year.

Our wallets can’t keep up with these demands either, as pressure to buy has driven total credit card debt in the UK to £66.2 billion.

It’s also damaging our well-being. The negative impact on mental health associated with modern lifestyles costs the NHS an estimated £21billion per year.

So what can we do about it? We commissioned a report, Our Relationship with Stuff to look in detail at what drives us to consume in the first place, the cost to our well-being of the pursuit of ‘Stuff’, and find alternative choices we can make to make us happier.

Based on this insight, we have outlined four paths you can take to fulfil your needs, and improve your well-being, as well as the health of your bank account and our planet.


Taking time out – a way of being

• Take short moments throughout the day to pause and consciously relax
• Mindfulness will help your stress levels go down and make impulse purchases less likely


Treasuring what we have – a way of having

• Reflect on good things in life – write down three things every day that you’re grateful for
• Appreciation usually makes you happier with what you’ve got. You’re less likely to buy things you don’t need, to try to solve problem you don’t have.

Decluttering life – a way of living

• Choose a simpler existence with fewer possessions and obligations.
• Feeling overloaded with mental and physical stuff can make us feel swamped. Doing and buying less gives you space for other things.

Choosing experiences, not things – a way of doing

• Get ‘doing’ – not consuming - by seeking experiences that will keep on giving.
• Creating memories is great fun in the present – and they are worth more over the years than possessions.


Get involved in our campaign #LessFestiveStress from now until 23 December, and download the report Our Relationship with Stuff.


Merry mindful Christmas!