Fun in the sun, long days lounging around with the sounds of test cricket not quite warbling in the background. Christmas time can also be stressful and anxiety-provoking, and some people may choose to opt out. Our friends at Relationships Australia NSW have provided the following tips for reducing Christmas time stress:
• You’re run off your feet trying to get everything done: Ask loved ones for practical help. Delegate chores and if you are having guests, ask them to bring a plate of food. Surprisingly, most people like to feel involved, so don’t be afraid to ask your loved ones to roll up their sleeves and contribute.
• You think everyone else is having ‘the perfect Christmas’: Take social media with a grain of salt. Remember that we can never know the reality behind all those photos and Instagram stories. Either limit your time on social media, or remind yourself that our feeds only show a very small portion of our lives. Think of social media as a ‘highlight reel’ rather than the full picture.
• You are dealing with financial hardship: Decide on a budget and stick to it. There are many low-cost gifts out there, or you could try a ‘Secret Santa’, rather than buying a gift for everyone. You can also get creative with Christmas lunch, or stick to lower-cost dishes using back-to-basics ingredients. If you’re in a relationship, agree on a budget with your partner and help each other stick to it.
• You’re dealing with grief, loss or separation: Get professional support. Seeing a counsellor or mental health professional can help you process feelings of grief, sadness, anxiety and anger. A professional can also help you navigate any particularly tricky relationship dynamics at this time, including with your wider family, children or ex-partner.
• You’re feeling lonely: Volunteer or plan a nice day for yourself. Put your name down to volunteer at a charity event such as a Christmas lunch, and charities such as the Salvation Army, Meals on Wheels and Starlight Children’s Foundation all offer volunteering opportunities. If volunteering isn’t for you this year, practise some self-care and plan for the day with a set list of activities you really enjoy. They could include visiting a favourite spot, going to the movies, going on a day trip, or even starting a gratitude journal.
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