‘Tis the season to be jolly, or so they say.
Whilst many people are throwing themselves into the spirit of Christmas, it’s hard to remember that the festive season isn’t for everyone. With so much going on, Christmas can be a pressured time, and many people can suffer stress and anxiety, especially if they’re already suffering from existing mental health conditions. A bit of forward planning can be especially useful for helping you avoid the stress at Christmas and these great Christmas survival tips could help you make it through the season.
Christmas survival tips to help you make it through the season
1. Don’t leave everything until the last minute
It can be easy to get caught up in other things at this time of year, but putting off the Christmas shopping and preparations will only make things worse. Getting yourself organised, even if it’s just at the beginning of December will help the Christmas jobs feel more manageable. Plan what needs to be done week by week, make a shopping list and rope in the family to help with getting the house ready and other jobs which can be time consuming or stressful.
2. Don’t say ‘yes’ to everything
The Christmas season is one of the most sociable of the year, and whilst all of those invites to parties, dinners and other events can be a great self-esteem booster, they can also prove to be costly, as well as meaning that you’re spread too thinly for the next four weeks. Even though it’s great to get involved and see friends and family, it’s also important that you take some time for yourself. It’s important to understand that saying ‘no’ is ok, and that everyone needs some time off from the celebrations every now and then.
3.Don’t rely on alcohol
You may think that alcohol is the solution to boosting your mood at Christmas, but the truth is, the reality can be quite the opposite. Alcohol is a known depressant, can leave you feeling irritable and can also make individuals more aggressive, whilst dealing with the hangover alone can make your mood feel low. Stick to recommended drinking amounts and practice drinking in moderation.
4. Get everyone to pitch in
Cooking Christmas dinner is one of the most stressful elements of Christmas, but it doesn’t have to be. Get everyone involved as much as you can, from having someone prep the vegetables, and another looking after the starter and dessert. Try to prepare things in advance if you can. If you have guests coming over, ask them to bring a dish to help ease the load – everyone will be happy to pitch in and it means much less work on the day.
5. Practice smarter spending
Concerns over money is one of the key reasons why many of us suffer stress around the festive period. The pressure to spend money around Christmas is enormous – from expensive presents to food, drink and entertainment. But remember, the season isn’t worth getting into debt over. Make the most of online discounts to help you save money, and if you find that you’re buying for too many people, why not arrange a ‘Secret Santa’ plan where everyone only buys for one person, with a set budget to prevent overspending. There may be a few grumbles at first but people will soon appreciate the idea once they see the positive effect on their bank balance!
If you, or someone you know suffers from a mental health condition, make sure you take steps to lessen the stress at Christmas and ensure that the season doesn’t’ overwhelm you. The Mental Health Foundation has plenty of great tips for helping you to look after your mental health over the holidays, whilst the NHS’s Live Well website also has some useful ideas to help you survive the festive season.