5 Tips for Dealing with Stress and Anxiety During Christmas
For many, Christmas is their favourite time of year. Cosy nights in with the family, nights out with your friends and work colleagues, and mince pies upon mince pies... mmm.
But for a lot of us, Christmas can be one of the most triggering times for anxiety. The anxiety might be in regards to our families or the copious social gatherings, feeling isolated or the impact all those presents have on our finances.
Whatever aspect is causing you anxiety, here are a few of my tips for dealing with anxiety during Christmas, to try and make it a little more wonderful than it has been in the past.
1 – Drink responsibly (or don’t drink at all!)
It can be easy to drink far (faaaar) too much at Christmas. The many nights out, the delicious mulled wine, the drop of sherry after dinner… And it can be even more tempting if you’re dealing with anxiety because, after that first sip, all of the worries seem to ease. Until you’re five sips in and overthinking anything and everything. Not to mention the paranoia a hangover can bring.
With the proliferation of alcohol-free spirits and mocktails, try swapping the alcohol-heavy drinks for something a little more refreshing, hydrating, and kinder to the mind. And as always, stay hydrated!
2 – Move at your own speed and don’t compare
This one’s easier said than done. But Christmas can sweep you up and spit you out with expectation. But you don’t have to go on that night out if you don’t want to. No one will mind if you’d prefer to curl up with a good book and a cuppa.
Haven’t managed to do your Christmas shopping by the 1st of December? That’s okay, you’ll get it done at some point. Your work colleague's going to the Alps with their extended family, and you’re having a quiet time at home? Awesome! You’ll both have a great time.
What I’m trying to get at is there is a perceived expectation that we have to be perfect at this time of year – to enjoy every second and have everything prepared way in advance. But the reality is only a small portion of people are actually like that and everyone else is just pretending.
So do what you want to do, not what you think people want to see. Enjoy yourself in whatever way makes you happy. And don’t compare yourself to those cookie-cutter Christmas’ we see plastered all over Instagram.
3 – Keep active but don’t hold yourself to the expectation you have the other 11 months of the year
It’s beneficial for the mind and body to continue exercising over the Christmas period. The temptation to sloth-out for the entire month is very tempting. But to keep those endorphins flowing, maintaining an effort to exercise is key.
But don’t expect yourself to be as active as you are for the rest of the year. This will only lead to feelings of guilt that you haven’t done enough. Christmas is a time for relaxation and enjoying yourself, after all, so don’t kick yourself if you’re not running 10k each day.
Regularly work out 4-5 times a week? Make time for 2 sessions baseline, but they don’t have to be as intensive as your usual practices.
4 – Plan for parties
If you suffer from social anxiety, party season can be very difficult to navigate. Sometimes, even just the idea of it can be a bit much.
So make a plan. Maybe just go for the first hour or two. Have a trusted companion who knows exactly what to do if you were to panic. And if your anxiety gets too much, remember that there is no expectation – you are allowed to stay at home and that is okay.
5 – Rest!
This year, in particular, has proved very trying for many, in a lot of different ways. So as we reach the end of the working year, remember to wind down, take some time for yourself, and relaaaaaaaaaaaax.
Eat, sleep, rest, repeat!
We hope you found some of these tips useful. Our friend John (of Relax Like a Boss, a website for dealing with stress) wrote a very insightful article about anxiety affirmations.
We found it very useful, so if you liked this article, go check it out!
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