All the Christmas songs tell us that it is a time of love, joy and peace. Well for a lot of people it is. However, living with stress, anxiety and depression at Christmas can be difficult and can keep you as far away from joy as it is possible to be.
If you’re feeling anxious over the Christmas period or suffer from depression, then you are not alone. A lot of people become even more so during Christmas, especially regarding the idea of social gatherings. Those suffering from anxiety and in particular, social anxiety, often feel a huge amount of pressure to attend social events which in turn leads to a surge in feelings of anxiety.
There’s also the additional financial burden at Christmas time which can add to anxiety levels as well as forced family interactions where relationships are strained.
How can you cope with these raised levels of anxiety during the “jolliest time of the year?”
All in Moderation
For a lot of people, Christmas centres around food and drink and it can be really tempting to indulge in every treat going without considering how what we eat affects our mood. Overloading on sugar and caffeine can cause us to have great peaks but also huge crashes afterwards, which can leave us emotional and lethargic.
A Drink or Five?
It is no secret that alcohol can affect our judgement as well as our emotions. Many will drink alcohol to help them relax and relieve the feelings of anxiety. However, the resulting hangover from too much alcohol can leave us feeling much worse, so do make sure you stay hydrated with lots of water and non-alcoholic drinks.
Exercise might be the last thing on your mind at Christmas, but it is good to try and keep active. Physical activity releases endorphins which boost your mood level, so whilst it is tempting to hibernate, pop on those wellies and get out there for a walk in the fresh air.
If you’re suffering, try and distract yourself. If you’ve had therapy of some kind you may know some distraction techniques, but if not then give yourself something to do. Sort out the cutlery drawer, or the airing cupboard, or make a list of all the things you want to plant in your garden in the New Year. It doesn’t need to be a big activity; you just need to be doing something.
Time for You
This is probably the most important thing you can do. Whilst Christmas is the season of goodwill and all about doing things for others, it is important you don’t miss yourself off the list. Take some time out for a little self-care; read a book, listen to music or have a bubble bath. Be sure to do a little self-preservation to help see you through.
Spend at least one day in your pyjamas and take the opportunity to relax and do what you want to do.