17th December 2018
Christmas is fast approaching. For many Christmas is a day filled with family, friends, gifts, good food and good times. But for some people, it can be a challenge. Services close during the holiday break, health professionals go on vacation and there’s a perceived social pressure that demands happiness and participation.
To help you through the coming holiday period, below are 10 tips to reduce stress over Christmas.
1. Plan, walk and talk
Make sure all your medications are up to date. Use exercise, like walking, to help alleviate stress when you sense a trigger. Talk to someone prior to Christmas Day, ask them to help you rehearse and revise your coping mechanisms.
2. Keep it simple
If you are feeling overwhelmed with things to do, write a list and slowly work through it. Write the most important things at the top, and then work your way down, one task at a time.
3. Use the past to your advantage
Look back and learn from past Christmas. What worked and what didn’t? Were there situations, people, or events that adversely affected you? How did you respond and can you see a pattern in these past experiences? Use the positive coping skills you have used in the past to help you this year.
4. Find time for yourself
5. Be honest with yourself, friends and family
If you can’t do something or be somewhere, apologise and tell them early. Explain that you’re struggling mentally, burnt out, or that crowds, questions or people are too overwhelming at the moment. Say you’re not in a good place right now and it’s nothing personal and you wish them the best and appreciate their understanding.
Ask for their understanding and support. You’ll be surprised how many people understand. If they don’t that’s ok too. This honesty gives you space to choose when to contact people and not feel pressured.
6. Choose who you celebrate with
7. Look ahead
Limit your exposure to people who are draining and plan something you really want to do after Christmas. This way you have something to look forward to. It could be as simple as going for a walk or reading a book.
8. Manage your energy
Give only as much as you have to. Keep your interactions short and be open and honest about how you’re feeling with at least one support person. It can be hard to set boundaries. But sometimes you just have to say no. It can be very scary putting yourself first but those who really care will understand.
Try to spend time with people who energise you rather than those who drain you. In the lead-up to this Christmas surround yourself with supportive people, minimise stressors, keep to your routines and think about how involved you would like to be in Christmas, knowing that it’s okay to not go beyond your capabilities or preference.
9. Find a safe space
10. Debrief with a trusted support
If you need support during the December and January period please call Relationships Australia NT on (08) 8923 4999. Our counsellors can help people through stressful periods like Christmas. Please be aware of our holiday closure period
Information Source: SANE Australia & Relationships Australia NT