4 Ways To Minimise Stress At Christmas

POSTED ON: 08/12/2017

If you look forward to the festive season with excitement, spending time with friends and family and sharing a Christmas meal together, look away now!

For many people, Christmas can be a difficult and stressful time, prompting some to seek help with stress, anxiety, depression and other difficult feelings. Why might this be?


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Real tree on the Cornhill this year.

For people who may be socially isolated or without family and friends loneliness can be an issue, which in turn can lead to excessive rumination and worry.

The Christmas rush and the pressure to get all of the shopping done on time, plan and cook food and attend seasonal events can be demanding for others.

The pressure to spend can be a huge cause of stress, coupled with the worry of starting the New Year with credit card and overdraft debts to repay.

If this rings a bell with you, what can you do to minimise stress at Christmas?


1. Be realistic. 

The vision of a fairy-tale Christmas is very attractive, but it isn’t a reality. Commercial advertising seeks to drive spending by selling the idea of a perfect Christmas. The short films which the big shopping brands all produce are now a part of the festive season, promoting visions of happy families recovering from mountains of roast potatoes and mince pies, while they open their dream gifts around a beautifully decorated Christmas tree.
But when we buy into this fairy-tale version of Christmas we risk falling into the trap of perfectionism – and inevitable disappointment. And when we feel disappointment it’s all too easy to try and lift our mood by gorging on leftovers and spending more in the sales, which can leave us feeling even worse. 


2. Manage expectations. 

So now you're being realistic, talk to your family and friends and discuss expectations, both in terms of how much time you have to plan and shop and set a realistic budget for gifts. Perhaps you can have a ‘secret Santa’ so that you only have to buy one gift each. Or you could agree to do something different in the New Year, having a day out when finances are less pressured. 


3. Share responsibilities. 

To ensure that you don’t end up burdened with all of the shopping and cooking, share responsibilities with those around you. Agree who is going to be responsible for cooking each dish so that nobody feels overwhelmed with having to do all of the cooking. 
If your family don’t live nearby and if your friends are returning to where their families live, plan interesting and fun things to do around other people. Perhaps find out about Christmas events near you and go along.


4. Find meaning and purpose. 

A really important part of being resilient to stress is to have plenty of meaning and purpose in your life, and Christmas can be an opportunity to do exactly that. Start by asking what Christmas should mean to you. Are there opportunities to give money or time to worthy causes? Many churches and homeless shelters need volunteers to help out those in need. A powerful antidote to the excesses of the festive season can be to take stock of what we have to be grateful for.

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Quay Place Wellness Centre

"At Quay Place and Suffolk Mind we’re always keen to hear how people have coped with stress and adversity, so if you have tips or a story to share please contact our marketing manager at carole.thain@suffolkmind.org.uk" 


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