All I want for Christmas is… LESS STRESS!!

Christmas… A time of joy, peacefulness and relaxation.

A time to laze around or catch up for a coffee with your friends, to cherish those long-lasting salty summer days.

Or not.

More often you’re spending extra hours at work while everyone rushes towards the end of the year, juggling social commitments that never seem to end, attempting to shop for Christmas presents in the free minutes you do have, trying to organise everyone for Christmas day plans (which let’s be honest, is like herding cats) all while spending precious nights doing the cooking preparation, fretting about whether you can afford the credit card bill next month and worrying, worrying, WORRYING.

The lead up to Christmas is stressful and anxiety-provoking at the best of times. For some people, it is made even harder– loneliness or social isolation, financial hardship, or family relationship difficulties are just some of the factors that make people more vulnerable at this time to stress.

Christmas stress often adds to existing mental health difficulties or reveal new difficulties. With the potential for this time to be very difficult, in the weeks leading to Christmas we need to focus on looking after ourselves and try to find a moment of calm amongst the chaos.

So, how can you help yourself in the lead up to Christmas? Here are some handy hints to get you through to 2019:

Stress Busting Tips

  1. Get organised! Having a concrete list of all the food and gifts that are needed can give you some much-needed ‘brain space’
  2. Keep your stress levels down by getting enough sleep and keeping your regular fitness up while you enjoy the merry season
  3. Take the time to connect with people you care about. Spend time being in the moment with the people you love, with your phone on Do Not Disturb.
  4. Take time for you – this may seem silly or obvious, but is so easy to be lost in this busy time! Taking even five minutes off for yourself can be incredibly helpful
  5. Be realistic. If your brother and father argue all year long, don’t expect them to stop just for Christmas. Instead, try to take a deep breath and remind yourself that this is the current reality and even if you don’t approve or it is upsetting, it is not your job to fix anything today. By doing this you allow yourself to still enjoy your day and not get caught up in solving the arguments of others.
  6. Avoid conversations destined to trigger big emotions (read: political arguments)

For most people, the end of Christmas means an end to the chaos, stress, and anxiety. But for some, Christmas triggers underlying difficulties that spread into the new year. If you find yourself struggling in the lead up to and following Christmas, please seek help from a professional service.

At Marsden Clinical Psychology we help children, adolescents, and adults to overcome difficulties with stress, anxiety, mood, and even relationship problems. You don’t have to have a diagnosable mental disorder to see a psychologist. You may just need someone supportive in your corner that can help you process the difficulties and problems you have in your life.

Don’t hesitate any longer, call or email to make an appointment: 0411 542 624 or info@marsdenpsychology.com.au.