Coping with stress at Christmas
By Hannah West
Although Christmas is seen as a time for celebration where you get together with family and friends and enjoy each other’s company, it can also be a stressful time for many.
From expectation of spending more money on gifts, the pressure of having the ‘perfect Christmas’, or having additional jobs to do on top of your busy lives, the festive period can cause significant stress.
It is also a time when feelings of loss or grief are heightened, and some people may feel isolated and lonely.
Stress can affect you both mentally and physically. Some people may not even realise they are stressed, but there are subtle ways for your body to tell you that you are. You may feel anxious, angry, sad, or frustrated or you may experience physical symptoms such as headaches, nausea, chest pain and a rapid heartbeat.
Here’s some tips on how to cope with stress during the festive period.
Focus on the positives
You may feel pressurised to buying the perfect gift or overwhelmed with additional jobs Christmas bring. If you are feeling overwhelmed during the festive period, focusing on the positives can impact on your physical and mental wellbeing. Try and focus on what you have achieved and accomplished and look at the positives of a situation, this will help you feel a sense of reward and achievement.
Stop people – pleasing
Trying to fit everything in at Christmas can be hard. Stop people-pleasing – it is OK if you don’t try to be everywhere or do everything. Prepare and plan in advance how your time is going to be shared and remember to spend quality time with those that matter the most to you.
In a world where social media has a massive impact on our lives, it can be easy to compare yourself to those you see on social media. Remind yourself that what you see online is a version of what people want you to see, not reality.
Don’t compare yourself to others – no one is perfect. Have a break from social media and take the time to focus on what really matters to you.
Set a budget
If you have financial worries, set yourself a budget for Christmas shopping. Before setting a budget, write a list of your priorities including bills and living expenses and go through the things that you could go without and those things that you cannot.
Once you have set your budget, write a present list and an amount you can spend for each person, this will help you to not overspend but make sure you stick to your budget.
Loneliness and bereavement
Even many years after a loved one dies; Christmas can be a difficult and emotional time. As time passes, Christmas can help us remember the happy memories and the good times you shared in the past.
You may not feel like getting into the festive spirit, but why not put up your Christmas tree and fill it with decorations that remind you of your loved one. You can make it a tree full of happy memories.
If you’re struggling this Christmas, there are organisations that offer free, confidential help and support:
Samaritans: Call Samaritans on 116 123 (freephone). They are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Shout: Text SHOUT to 85258. This is a free 24/7 crisis text service run by Shout.