There’s no denying that there is something truly magic about the festive season, but there’s also no denying that, for all its happiness, it can be an incredibly stressful time for a lot of us. Between rushing around doing the Christmas shopping, financial worries, the travelling to family and friends and reminiscing about loved ones lost, it’s not always perfect.
If you’re feeling:
- Low energy
- Frequently full of headachea
- Stomach upset such as pain, diarrhoea and nausea
- Chest pain and rapid heartbeat
- Loss of sexual desire
You could be experiencing stress and need to slow down and think about how to manage it.
If financial worries or overspending on Christmas gift shopping is the cause of your stress, it’s good to set spending limits and approach the shops with a clear plan of action to avoid panic shopping. If overindulging on food and drink causes you to feel stress and guilt, set limits there too – it can certainly be an overindulgent period, but it isn’t worth triggering you.
Big celebrations like birthdays and Christmas are often highly anticipated and it’s easy to have big expectations for the day to be picture perfect but expecting perfection can be dangerous. Reality often doesn’t live up to expectations. Life is imperfect and finding the joy in that is much less stressful!
Say ‘no’ When You Need to
It might not seem festive, but it’s important to learn to say ‘no’ when you need to. Try to time block your days effectively over the Christmas period, so you’re not overstretched with travel, visits and events. Remember to keep time for yourself and rest on the to-do list and you’ll feel much better overall.
Of course, it’s not always possible to avoid stress every time it approaches you so have a few coping mechanisms in your back pocket. The following might help:
- Exercise reduces tension and increases endorphins for an uplifting feeling
- Take control of situations when you can
- Connect with people – laughter and friendship is good medicine and sometimes just knowing you have a network of support is enough to reduce stress
- Check your unhealthy habits before they spiral
- Volunteer over the festive period – it keeps you busy and helps you feel good!
If you think stress is becoming a regular occurrence and it’s starting to affect your everyday life, don’t hesitate to reach out for help at Oxford CBT. And from all of us here, we wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year!