Beating Christmas stress and anxiety
Don’t hurt your health
Being realistic, planning ahead and seeking support can help ward off stress and depression.The Christmas season is meant to be a time of joy but for many, it can be a time of stress, anxiety, disappointment or loneliness. Christmas comes with high expectations of perfect, happy families enjoying luxurious celebrations and gifts, but not all of us are able to live up to these ideals.
For those who have recently lost a loved one, Christmas can intensify feelings of grief and sadness. Some people experience feelings of isolation, financial pressures or increased family conflict that can make this a very stressful time of year.
However, there are some steps you can take to help manage stress and anxiety during the festive period.
• Is the festive season a burden on your wallet? The find low-cost ways to have fun. Don’t let money cut you off from your family and friends. If you can’t afford expensive restaurant meals or cocktail catch-ups, organise a braai in the park or a party at home where everyone brings a plate of food.
• Just because you’re related doesn’t mean your family members will all get along. Split families and unresolved conflicts may contribute to Christmas anxiety. Family and relationship problems can be a trigger for anxiety.
Set realistic expectations. Christmas might not be the fabulous family reunion you hoped for. Plan how you will manage any feelings of anxiety or depression that may arise.
Put the kids first. Consider putting aside ongoing adult conflicts in their interest. Think about Christmas as a day for the kids and focus on enabling their happiness.
While it may be tempting to drink too much during the festive period, but alcohol can contribute to stress, anxiety and depression. Alcohol may be a problem if you’re drinking to cope.
Avoid known triggers. If your family has a history of arguing over a certain topic, don’t bring it up.
• If you find yourself isolated or grieving a loved one over the Christmas period, try to connect with friends and family. Even if you’re separated by distance, you can stay in touch with loved ones online or by phone.
• Why not lend a hand at a local charity over Christmas? You'll connect with people and feel good about making a positive contribution.
• Find out what’s happening in your community and get involved. Whether it’s Christmas carols or local markets, getting out and about can help relieve loneliness.
• Develop a plan in advance to avoid feeling depressed or stressed on Christmas day. Perhaps 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.
Recognising and changing behaviours that contribute to your stress will help you get through the Christmas period. Remember to stay healthy - eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep can help you cope with Christmas stress. - https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/
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