Many of us look forward to Christmas and the excitement it brings but this is not the case for everyone and even those of us who get swept up in the preparations, parties and entertaining can have a nagging sense of anxiety about a time of year when emotions can run high and the usual worries and strains of life can increase.
You can feel under pressure to enjoy yourself. The bright lights of Christmas can emphasise the problems you may have and you can be surrounded by people apparently having fun. The happy glowing scenes of Christmas from the movies don’t often reflect what is really going on.
Sometimes Christmas is the only time all the family get together and while you may love them all, being with people you don’t see often can be stressful, especially if there are undercurrents if some people don’t get on with others. The holidays may also mean extra time off and if your relationship is already under pressure, having to spend more time together could widen the cracks and cause strain.
You may be very busy at work and trying to get the present buying and shopping done before the Christmas break can leave you feeling stressed and short tempered. It can be particularly tough if you have lost someone you love, even if the bereavement was a long time ago, Christmas can highlight the space that person has left behind.
It’s important to remind yourself that Christmas doesn’t have to be perfect or just like it was last year. As families grow and children leave home, traditions and rituals can change. Try and accept family and friends as they are even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. If there are grievances within the family set aside another appropriate time to discuss them. Tempers may fray, try and be understanding if others feel upset or angry if something goes wrong, chances are they are feeling the strain of Christmas too.
Christmas is also an expensive time, you can feel pressured to buy extravagant gifts and spend more on your credit card than you should. Set a budget for how much you can afford to spend and stick to it.The overindulgence of Christmas can take its toll on your health; don’t treat Christmas as a time to throw your healthy habits out of the window, keeping fit and eating well will help you cope with the strain. Have a healthy snack before going to parties so you don’t go overboard on the canapés and watch your alcohol intake.
The build up to Christmas can be hectic, consumed with get-togethers for meals and drinks, try and slow things down and say ‘No’ to those events you can’t or don’t want to attend. A lot of the pressure from Christmas comes from our own expectations, so lower your standards and keep things in perspective: does it matter if lunch is late? If you are hosting don’t be shy about asking friends or family to help.
Christmas is meant to be a happy occasion but if you are not feeling that way and need someone to talk to, call our Helpline which is open right through the holiday period, even on Christmas day.
The LawCare helpline is 0800 279 6888