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Stress at Christmas – 3 tips to manage the festive season

Stress at Christmas – 3 tips to manage the festive season. Christmas and the Christmas season can be a very stressful time of year for lots of different reasons. It is a time of year that is already difficult, the days are shorter, there is less sunlight, its cold and frosty. So, on top of this there is a pressure to spend money, to invest in gifts and food for one day of celebration, to go out and “have fun” at social occasions. There is a pressure to spend time with people you perhaps don’t want to, but because its Christmas you feel you have to make the effort. It’s a time when there is more drinking alcohol, more eating and pressure to conform to social and familial norms.

Of course, you may have a different view about Christmas and the Christmas period. You might love it, you might find joy in all of the festive activities, present buying and spending time with family. Christmas might be your favourite time of year and you may work hard to make everything perfect for those you love.

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Whatever you feel about Christmas it can still be a stressful time, below are three tips on managing the festive season whether you love it or hate it.

  1. Be realistic – often Christmas festivities don’t go to plan, people argue, drink too much, things aren’t done how we would like them. Be realistic about how things are likely to be and accept that things may not be what we would want. Accepting this will take a lot of pressure off ourselves, we will be more able to be in the moment and enjoy what we can. Also, if we are realistic about how things might be, we can choose to not engage in or even go to things that are going to be damaging to us. It’s ok to decide not to go to a family gathering or a party if we know its not in our best interests and will be detrimental to us. Being realistic also means that we can take steps to make things ok for ourselves, if we are looking to others to be a certain way for us, we may well be disappointed.
  2. Plan what you are going to do – whether you are part of a big family that always celebrates Christmas in a big way or a family who doesn’t bother, consider what you would like to do and take action to make it happen for yourself. Plan what you would like to spend on Christmas, if anything, plan how you will manage the run up to Christmas, events you would like to go to, presents and cards you would like to buy, if any, and what you would like to do on Christmas Day, if anything. Take responsibility for how you want this festive period to look for you and steer it in the direction you want.
  3. Get yourself a gift – whether or not you celebrate Christmas, this time of year can be hard going. The one aspect of Christmas I like is the lights, the lights on trees and houses and in the streets, the light in the darkness of winter. We all need some light in the darkness, something to lift our spirits and keep us going until spring. Whatever you are doing at this time of the year consider giving yourself a gift, this doesn’t have to be something you buy, although it could be, it could be time to yourself to read, a trip, doing more of what you love, spending time with people you love or resting more. The winter is the time when nature rests and regenerates, this is a time for you too, to rest and regroup before spring.

If you are struggling with the stress of Christmas you might want to speak to a professional. Paul is a counsellor and psychotherapist with many years of experience, you can learn more about Paul here on the About Paul Page. If you would like to make an appointment with him please use the Contact Page or call on 07843 813 537. Paul works in Birmingham and Kingswinford, although currently due to COVID is working exclusively online and on the telephone. For more information about how counselling works and current fees please take a look at the FAQs page.

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If you are looing for further online tips and ideas on how to manage Christmas please have a look at these links below

Coping with depression at Christmas

10 ways to reduce stress at Christmas

Beating Christmas stress and anxiety

From this Website

Managing alcohol at Christmas

Christmas and relationship / couples counselling

Christmas in isolation – ways of coping with COVID

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