Okay….. so, Christmas is around the corner. Yes, you may think you have a few weeks left but before you know it, the day will arrive, and it will be Christmas. While most of us enjoy Christmas because we get to spend time with family and friends, have some time off work, or go on that much awaited holiday, for others it can be stressful. Why? ….. because for those who suffer from anxiety or depression, the lead up to Christmas is daunting and stress-inducing.

So, to help you cope with Christmas, here’s 5 tips to help you manage:

1. Start planning now
Now is the time to start planning so you can lessen any stress and anxiety, and help you feel that you have some control over things. Start planning what you will be doing for Christmas, who you will spend your time with, what food you will need to prepare, and what gifts you need to get. Remember you don’t have to buy lavish gifts because it’s not about spending excessively. Writing yourself a list of what you need to do for the festive season and ticking off tasks done helps you keep on top of things.

2. Look after yourself
As the end of the year approaches, we can start to feel overwhelmed, tired and maybe a little burnt out. Therefore, it’s important that you make sure you schedule time for yourself for activities that you enjoy and to allow yourself to re-energise for the new year. Get plenty of rest and eat healthily.

3. If you will be alone, plan what you will do
If you will be spending time alone, try to do something that you enjoy and makes you feel better. If you don’t want to spend time alone look into what community groups can offer or volunteer with an organisation to assist with those less fortunate on Christmas Day.

4. Change your expectations
If you’re starting to feel stressed and anxious about Christmas, remind yourself that these feelings are normal and change your expectations to be more realistic. For example, if you know that certain members of the family don’t get along, then don’t expect them to, because they probably won’t. Be realistic and if someone raises a touchy subject over Christmas, quickly change the topic.

5. Manage your stress
Manage your stress by using relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or focusing on your breath. Try to get plenty of rest and do some exercise. Look at what is causing you stress and work out some solutions to the problem. Many people under stress tend to use alcohol, cigarettes and other drugs. Try to remember that drugs can’t solve problems or alleviate stress in the long term.

One final thing……..and that is…….. be in the moment and enjoy Christmas.

If the lead up to Christmas is causing you stress and you cannot cope, please contact us on 02 4244 5636 to find out how we can help you.

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