Christmas Concern

When it comes to Christmas, some of us can feel apprehensive. 

Feelings of anxiety can start in October and November, whilst seemingly forgetting that Christmas is actually in December and, for most, only lasts 2 or 3 days. However, when Christmas is actually upon us the build-up to get everything done before the big day can have the potential to overwhelm us and spoil the celebrations. 

Initially, be totally realistic about your aspirations and your budget. Don’t hope for too much and don’t spend more than you have. Christmas is, for many, unbearable and an immense sense of anxiety can totally disrupt the potential enjoyment of those 2 or 3 days. This emotional disquiet can completely distract from the what getting together with our families might be all about.

Being burdened by unwelcome psychological anxiety and stress can deepen during the festive period. Try not to get carried away. Take regular ‘time outs’ and say to yourself, “Stop, consider… and now contemplate.” Think about how you are feeling and how others might be feeling, consider your next move carefully and compassionately, attempt to maintain an internal calmness. This is a mindful thought process which also includes taking notice of situations and people and being in the here and now. 

“When connecting with people during the Christmas holiday try and join in, share and be friendly and make an extra effort to empathise. ”

A 2015 MIND survey discovered that 20% of people have felt lonely during Christmas. Stephen Buckley, head of information at Mind, says: “At Christmas existing problems can seem even bigger - if you are lonely, it can highlight how lonely you are and make you feel that you should be socialising.” So, if you know someone who is isolated, attempt to include them. Try and give a little more and do something special for other people. Ask others how they are feeling and really listen. 

Many of us overindulge with food and possibly alcohol. Despite its connection with having a good time, alcohol is actually a depressant, and can indisputably increase anxiety. Try to be aware of your personal limits and try to do some exercise to counteract any excesses. 

Most people would truly like Christmas to be full of feelings of love, cheerfulness, relaxation and enjoyment. Perhaps the main features of Christmas are the opportunities to meet up with friends and family. Perhaps compassionate and empathic contemplation, and thoughtfulness, will make those meetings merry, peaceful and fun. Happy Christmas.

Shane Lutkin is lead Therapist at Emotionalskills. If you’re struggling with emotional issues, call 07986 488690 or email info@emotionalskills.uk

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