Blue Tree intern and aspiring psychologist Maddy Lykourgos describes the increasing pressure that comes with the Holiday period…Christmas adverts have aired, decorations and lights have gone up and the festive markets are scheduled to arrive on our streets at any given moment…and it’s still November. All this build up for one day and it’s over in a matter of hours.
For many people, regardless of faith or religion, the Christmas period signifies a time for family and nostalgia. For those without close family and friends, or for the elderly, this time of year can be particularly isolating. Even for those with events to attend, there is a stress of social conformity; an urge to engage in the over-indulgence and materialistic nature that has been associated with the season. Who to spend the holidays with can also be an issue for some, with added pressure from various relations to make sure everyone gets visited across three particular days of the year.
Unfortunately, these stressors often culminate in family feuds. So, for a lot of us, the closer it gets, the more stress there is to stay organised and get everything done in time.
It seems like every year there is an added pressure to start the festivities earlier and earlier, with big brands competing to get their Christmas stock out first and even releasing trailers in preparation for the Christmas adverts that will follow.
If the Christmas displays are out, we can feel compelled to start buying before we know what we need to get and can end up spending beyond our means. Irrespective of sales, prices seem to creep up and as well as buying presents, everyday food items become illogically expensive. This extra financial strain and desire to conform to social trends and provide the ‘perfect Christmas’ for your loved ones is a massive source of anxiety and worry for many of us. Those with eating disorders also find this time tough, with so much food and so many dinners planned. So what can be done to overcome the high-intensity of the season?
Top tips reduce the Christmas stress:
1) Stay organised to avoid rushing around
Set yourself a budget and stick to it to prevent you overspending. Make lists of things to do/buy and tick them off as you go along. This separates a seemingly never-ending set of chores into manageable tasks to make sure nothing gets too overwhelming. Using a timetable for cooking preparations can also be a great way to make sure everything gets done in the necessary time.
2) Start preparations early
Whatever doesn’t need to be done last minute, should be done as early as possible. Leave the day itself as free as you can to make sure you have time to enjoy it.
3) Ask for help
Don’t take on too much yourself. Get people together to chip in. It can turn mundane chores into holiday activities that can make the preparations more enjoyable and more memorable for everyone.
4) Slow down and refocus
Although Christmas has become more and more commercialised, the importance of having loved ones around you is paramount. Reach out, mend bridges and stay supported. If you do not have the means to buy lots of gifts, society will not ostracise you. Do not feel pressured to get caught up in the materialism of the events; it will likely cause unnecessary anxiety and financial and emotional strain. Instead, make the holidays about what is important to you – remember it is only one day of the year!
For extra support around the holiday season or if your Christmas-related anxiety becomes a bit too overwhelming, do not hesitate to get in contact with us here at The Blue Tree Clinic.