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Coping with Christmas

Added 13 Dec 2019

Christmas can be full of delicious food, work parties and a time of connecting with others. However, it can also be a time of great financial pressure, family conflict, loneliness and stress. The lead up to Christmas can be particularly challenging for those experiencing anxiety, depression or other mental health difficulties.

Here are some tips that could be help cope with Christmas:

1. Getting some space

Working out some time away from the stresses that come with Christmas can be really worthwhile. You could do this by making time for a walk, talking to a friend, meditating or taking a long bath. This can be hard if you have a lot of responsibilities, such as looking after children, relatives or working – so pre-planning can be key. For example, you can arrange for your partner or a friend to look after your children for a few hours to give you a break. 

2. Saying no

This can be really hard, especially if you are feeling pressured to join family, friend, or work parties.  However, setting some limits is important to look after your wellbeing. Sometimes having a ‘script’ can help, for example; “that sounds like a great idea, but I’m quite tired and not feeling 100% so would prefer a night in”

3. Don’t buy things you can’t afford

And be honest about it if you can. Do something meaningful for others instead of spending money that    will only add to stress in the New Year. You could try giving gifts such as a handpicked care package, cooking dinner or offering a helping hand in the garden instead.

4. Managing conflict

Try to be understanding that this is a stressful time of the year for most people. It can help to organise a group activity, such as backyard cricket, and reducing the amount of alcohol at get-togethers.

Another option is creating some boundaries. If you are feeling really anxious about seeing and spending time with certain people, it might be a good idea to limit the amount of time you spend with them or make a plan of what to do if you need a time-out.

5. Volunteering

Can be a great way to support people going through a tough time, or help you if you are alone. Serving a meal at a community centre or visiting people at a nursing home are great options. Search ‘volunteering at Christmas’ to find some great options.

6. Set goals

This time of year is a great opportunity to reflect on the year and celebrate any achievements – no matter how small. It’s also a time to plan for the year ahead by coming up with some positive and achievable goals that work towards a better mental health and wellbeing. 

7. Practising yoga or meditation

Can be really useful during this time to manage the emotions that may get stirred up. Downloading an app such as the Smiling Mind or Headspace app can be a great resource to have in our pockets whenever we need to take a break and relax.

8.     Avoid comparisons

Social media and advertising can lead to us feeling like we’re not good enough or not doing something right. Limiting our exposure to these channels or disconnecting completely for a while, can be really helpful and take a bit of stress away.

9. Moderation

Try to avoid too much overindulgence, as this can lead us to feeling guilty, unwell and lead to alcohol-fuelled conflict. Doing some exercise, spending time outdoors and practicing some self-control can benefit our health and wellbeing.

10.     Additional support

If you are feeling overwhelmed, need some support or just want to chat, please don’t hesitate to contact the following:

ADAVIC (03) 9853 8089 (Wed-Fri, 10.30-4pm)

Beyond Blue 1300 22 46 36 (24hrs, 7 days)

Lifeline 13 11 14 (24hrs, 7 days)

By Courtney – Office/Telephone Support Volunteer


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