Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Top holiday stresses and how to manage them

The holidays are nearly upon us and it may sound ironic but the holiday season can be very stressful or even totally overwhelming for some people - particularly those who are prone to anxiety. Here are some tips on how to manage your anxiety during the festive season.

Too much to do 
You may be feeling pulled in many different directions with work, family as well as shopping and entertaining. If this is the case, take a moment to slow down. Make lists, plan menus and give yourself plenty of time. By organising your time and prioritising tasks you can minimise stress and anxiety.

Too little money 
As early as October we may see adverts for Christmas which show gifts piled up under the tree and tables full of tempting food. With expectations such as these, it is no wonder we may feel the need to overspend. In order to avoid temptation, set yourself a budget and make a list of how much you can spend on each person and stick to it. Consider buying joint gifts or making them.

Too many people 
Crowds at Christmas are inevitable so instead of being frustrated and angry, try to be kind and mindful. While waiting in line, strike up a conversation with your neighbour. If the crowds are annoying you, take deep breaths and try to notice the sights and sounds around you. At the end of the day, it is only a temporary inconvenience.

If you feel compelled to spend Christmas with your family, despite not getting on with them, this may add to this feeling of having too many people around. If they are unhealthy for you, you don't have to spend time with them. However, if they just annoy you, try to put personal differences aside for another time, accept them as they are and try not to criticise.

Too few people 
At this time of year you may feel far from family and friends. Try to connect with them using email, Skype or videos. Consider spending time with someone who may also be alone, i.e. a work colleague or volunteer to help others in need. This can make you (and them) feel better and also widen your social contacts.

Expectations too high 
This time of year comes with high expectations. Not only do we expect Christmas to be perfect but we also start to take stock of what goals we didn't meet over the preceding year such as losing weight or gaining a promotion. Now is a great time to re-evaluate your goals and focus on the future rather than the past. By keeping expectations realistic you can also focus on what's important to you.

All too much?
Holidays can be a difficult time for some. If you find that you just can't cope then talk to your GP or contact your local First Psychology centre.

Edinburgh: 0131-668-1440, www.edinburghtherapy.co.uk
Glasgow: 0141-404-5411, www.glasgowpsychology.co.uk
Borders: 01896-800-400, www.borderspsychology.co.uk

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