Beat the stress this Christmas

It’s nearly Christmas and all the advertisements showing the ‘perfect’ celebration can push people’s expectations and expenditure. For some it can be a demanding and stressful time of year.  In the wellbeing team we speak to some clients who find Christmas challenging – maybe they will be alone or perhaps they find it is an emotionally painful time. Here are some ideas to help reduce the stress and anxiety that Christmas can bring. You, your family and friends might find them helpful too.

1- Be careful with finances.  Money issues are a leading cause of stress over the Christmas period.  The best way to manage this is to plan ahead, buy Christmas presents throughout the year and try to limit impulsive spending.  It is important to set an affordable budget and stick to it.

2 –Manage expectations. Be realistic, help others to be realistic by explaining that Christmas is about being together and not about how many presents they get.

3 – Eat well and drink sensibly.  What we eat and drink can have an impact on how we feel.  Although it’s fine to treat yourself, be mindful about balance and moderation.

4  – Coping with loneliness.  Find meaningful ways to spend your time, such as volunteering or visiting someone else in your community who is also alone.  Do something that you love, make Christmas Day a day for you to spend doing something that is meaningful and enjoyable  – it doesn’t have to be Christmas related.  Find out if there are any local community events you can access.

5 – Stay active.  As tempting as it is to stay indoors at this time of year it will help you to relax and boost your wellbeing if you get out and about in the fresh air.

6 – Ask for help and take a break. It’s okay to ask for help if you are struggling or feeling overwhelmed or to say no when you need to. Think about the things you could do to help you relax, do something just for yourself.

7 – Have fun.  Forget how busy you are and make time to have fun.  Laughter is a great way to combat stress and to help you relax, so organise a few fun activities that you will enjoy. Re-runs of Only Fools and Horses, Fawlty Towers, Desmond’s or Morecambe and Wise can be a tonic.

Whatever you do, we hope you have an enjoyable time.

Best wishes, Kate Blackwell and Cate Winters.