Christmas is traditionally a time for celebration. But for some people the festive season can be difficult for many reasons including mental health difficulties and money worries.
So while many people will be looking forward to having time off work, for some the impact of Christmas is increased stress, family conflict or alcohol misuse. For others it is loneliness and isolation from friends and family. For people who have suffered bereavement the feeling of loss and sadness can be especially poignant at Christmas.
Leaving all your preparations for Christmas until the last minute can cause unnecessary stress, but planning ahead can save time and money. Making lists for jobs to do, presents to buy helps to organise our thoughts, prevents us from forgetting something or someone and makes it easier to stick to a budget.
But before you cancel the festivities entirely, remember: there are some remarkably simple ways to reduce stress levels. It sounds obvious, but keeping things in perspective can have a huge impact over time on how you feel. Ask yourself: does it really matter if the lunch is late and the bed unmade?
Another tip is just to breathe deeply. The body associates being stressed with that kind of upper chest, short, sharp breathing
“When you force yourself to use your diaphragm and breathe deeply, really making your lungs work; you’re overriding your stress response.
Smiling and laughing will also actively change your biochemistry and calm down the production of stress hormones.
Keep busy – don’t make Christmas the be all and end all. Do the things you always enjoy, like walking or going to the cinema.
Get up and exercise – it reduces stress and the serotonin your body creates gives your mood a lift.
Keep healthy – all that eating and drinking makes us lethargic. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables and it will make you feel more energetic.
Enjoy the celebrations!