The festive season is meant to be a time of joy, but for many people it can be a time for stress, anxiety, sadness, frustration, hurry, loneliness, disappointment, overworking, overeating, over drinking, and overspending. ‘Tis the season of perfect, happy families enjoying luxurious celebrations and gifts, but not all of us are able to live up to these ideals. Being proactive in your planning can turn an otherwise stressful season into a memorable one. Here are three common holiday stressors and what you can do to cope through the holidays.
1. Financial worries. Many people overspend at Christmas and it is no fun spending the following year worrying about the money that needs to be paid off. Drawing up a budget and figuring out how and on who you need to spend money is worthwhile. There are ways to reduce costs. When it comes to buying presents, you could only buy gifts for the children, have a Secret Santa draw so you’re only responsible for one, or make homemade gifts. The thought is really what counts. 2. Family tensions and social anxiety. Just because you’re related doesn’t mean your family members will all get along. Split families and unresolved conflicts may contribute to Christmas anxiety. Family and relationship problems can be a trigger for anxiety. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America estimates that 15 million people suffer from social anxiety. When a social event feels large and overwhelming, ask yourself what about the event is really making you anxious. Are you worried you won’t know anyone at the party? That you’ll have nothing to talk about? That people will judge you for dancing badly? Identifying the specific worries you have is the first step to being able to challenge them directly. It’s not actually the event that makes you nervous, but assumptions you’re making about it. 3. Loneliness. Spending too much time on your own can make you feel anxious, lonely and depressed. Make sure that you spend at least some of the time with friends or relatives. Develop a plan in advance to avoid feeling stressed on the day. Make yourself a special breakfast, buy yourself a gift in advance so that you can enjoy on the day, attend a local church service, or take a stroll through the local park to give yourself a treat. Don’t let the feelings linger and schedule an appointment with us, as soon as possible. It takes courage to talk about these things but we’re here to help.