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Christmas - Tips to reduce stress, anxiety and depression
Stress, anxiety, and depression are common during the festive season. If nothing else, reassure yourself that these feelings are normal. There are many ways to help stress during this period, e.g.:
- Set your expectations realistically. If certain family members bicker all year long, they will probably do so at Christmas too.
- Avoid known triggers. For example, if politics is a touchy subject in your family, don't talk about it. If someone brings up the topic, use distraction and quickly move on to something else to talk about.
- Use relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or focusing on your breath to cope with anxiety or tension.
- Family members involved in after-lunch activities (such as cricket on the back lawn) are less likely to get into arguments.
- Plan for something to do as a group after lunch if necessary.
- People under stress tend to 'self-medicate' with alcohol, cigarettes and other drugs. Try to remember that drugs can't solve problems or alleviate stress in the long term.
Some other ways to keep your Christmas stress levels down include:
- Try to be moderate – it may be the season to be jolly, but too much food and alcohol is harmful.
- Drink driving is a real danger and is illegal. If you can't (or don't want to) step off the social merry-go-round, at least try to eat and drink in moderation.
- Get enough sleep – plan for as many early nights as you can.
- Keep moving – keeping up your regular exercise routine can give you the fitness and stamina to make it through the demands of the festive season.
Do you have any tips to help people get through Christmas with as limited stress, anxiety and depression? We'd loved to hear how you have learnt to manage.
Thanks for some excellent tips and suggestions. I will add a few:
- Have realistic expectations
-Put a smile on your face as you greet people or walk through the door, your initial reaction/response may set the tone for the day
-Accept people may like to have a grumble, allow this for a while then change the subject
-If you need a break take one...even if it is another 5 minute trip to the toilet!
- Be aware of how people are coping around you, a word of kindness may help them get through the day
- Boxing Day may be your day to totally unwind, watch the cricket, go for a long run or do what ever you need to do.
I am telling myself that I am going to enjoy Christmas and I am thankful for the fact I do have family to share the Festive Season with.
I have so much to be thankful for! I don't live in a war zone, I am free to celebrate Christmas, we are all going to have food to eat and drinks available, we will be in a house and so much more.
Cheers all from Dools
Dear PamelaR and Mrs Dools~
Thank you for bringing up this subject, your tips are wise and spot-on.
Unfortunately for many Christmas is not something to look forward to. In our busy packed society people slip though the cracks and spend the festive season alone, ignored and unhappy, made all the worse by shops and media all concentrating on good times, fellowship, good will and family (plus endless re-runs of Christmas shows trotted out every year).
Such people may have good homes, enough money to get by and reasonable health, but at the time that does not count for much at all. Others do not even have that.
I've two thoughts, if one has a religious belief a midnight carols service can set a different mood - in any case I beleive singing is good for the soul.
The other and more practical is to help those in worse straights. The charitable societies such as Foodbank, City Mission, Salvation Army and the rest all need volunteers. The atmosphere is not like a business, people's efforts are genuinely appreciated and tangible good is done - one can see personally that one's efforts are not going to waste. It does not matter if it is handing groceries at a warehouse, helping cook bulk meals (or washing up:) or chatting to those stuck in hospital it is a two-way process. receiver and giver both benefit.
My Compliments of the Season to all.
Thanks for the great tips. Like many people with anxiety I find Christmas difficult.
I love the idea of being with all my family and friends at Christmas time, but when the day arrives I tend to get overwhelmed and anxious. Then I feel guilty for not having fun! This year has added pressure because it's my son's first Christmas and even though I know he won't remember it, I still feel the need to make it awesome for him. Plus I hate all the waste of wrapping paper, plastic, crappy toys that break within a month....
A few years ago I talked to both families and told them I can only cope with one family per day. So we now see my family a few days before Christmas and my partner's family on Christmas Day. This really reduces the stress and lets me have a day in-between events to relax and recharge.
Like Criox I find giving back to the community and those less fortunate makes me feel a lot better about the holidays. It's great that there are so many ways to volunteer without spending any money.
Hope you all find something to enjoy during the season.
Thank you for your contributions - Mrs Dools, Croix and Jess. Very much appreciated!!
Great ideas to help lift one up during a time that can be harder than usual for people with mental health conditions.
As the time gets nearer, I notice drivers are becoming more stressed, people in the shops are a little anxious (overly anxious). I guess it's the expectation and pressure of spending money some people many not have.
I like the idea about talking with the family about who to buy for, the amount one should spend. I think in some ways it's become a little out of control. There is some expectations out there to get the newest, the fanciest gadget. To me it takes away the real meaning of Christmas.
Anyone else with some tips to avoid the Christmas blues?