The Christmas season is meant to be a time of joy, but for many people it is be a time of stress, anxiety, disappointment and loneliness.

Christmas is also a time of  unreasonableness. There is misplaced high expectations of perfect, happy families enjoying expensive lavish celebrations and gifts. For those who have recently lost a loved one, Christmas can intensify their grief and loneliness. Others experience feelings of isolation, financial pressures or increased family conflict, all these make Christmas a difficult time of the year for people.

Here are a few steps we have proved to help you manage stress and anxiety during the festive season.

If you are finding it difficult to manage your stress or anxiety, try to reach out to one of the many phone support services or talk to your family doctor.

Money matters

The festive season can be a real burden on peoples wallets.  Here are some tips for managing your finances and reducing your financial stress of the season:

  • Identify the cause of your financial stress. Christmas can be an expensive time. Plan ways to reduce spending. You could organise a secret santa amongst the adults. Set a budget and stick to it. 
  • Find cheap ways to have fun. Don’t let money dictate how much fun you can have. organise a BBQ in the park or a party at home where everyone brings a plate of food and substitute the expensive cocktail bars and restaurants. 

Feuding Familes

Just because you’re related doesn’t mean you’ll get along. Unresolved family conflicts may contribute to Christmas anxiety and such gatherings could be a trigger for feelings of anxiety.

Here are some ideas for getting through:

  • Set realistic expectations. Christmas might not be the fabulous reunion you hoped for. Plan ahead how will you manage feelings of anxiety and depression if they come along. 
  • Think of the children. If there are children around, consider their interests and put aside ongoing adult conflicts. Make Christmas a day for the kids and focus on their happiness.
  • Control your drinking. Alcohol contributes to stress, anxiety and depression. As tempted as you may be, don’t drink to cope and drink in small amounts and drink water regularly.
  • Avoid known triggers. If your family has a history of arguing over a certain topic, don’t bring it up.

Managing loneliness

If you find yourself isolated or grieving over the Christmas period, here are a few ways to overcome loneliness: 

  • Stay connected with friends and family. Use phone and online services to overcome separation and stay in touch with friends and family.
  • Volunteer. Find a local charity and volunteer to lend a hand. It’s a great way to connect with people and feel good about making a positive difference.
  • Attend community events. Find out what’s on in your local area and get involved. Art, music, carols or markets getting out and attending can help relieve loneliness.
  • Make plans for Christmas Day. Plan ahead to avoid feeling stressed or lonely on Christmas day. Make yourself a special breakfast, buy yourself a gift in advance so that you can enjoy on the day, attend a local church service, or take a stroll through the local park to give yourself a treat. These things will make Christmas less stressful and lonely and you might actually make some friends. 

Stay healthy to avoid Christmas anxiety

Recognising and changing behaviours that contribute to your stress will help you get through the Christmas period. Remember to stay healthy by eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep to help you cope with Christmas stress. 

Last Reviewed: 21/01/2021

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