Why Does Christmas Period Make Me So Anxious?
While the Christmas period is seen as the happiest time of the year, that’s not the case for everyone. Many people might experience during Christmas period being anxious, more stress and worsened mental health in the days leading up to the end of the year.
Why Do I Feel So Anxious During the Festive Period?
In some cases, the answer to this question might be straightforward. For example, the Christmas period might remind you of a relative that you lost or of a childhood trauma caused by your family members. Sitting through a family gathering can be especially difficult and you might experience anxiety a few weeks before the celebrations start.
For a lot of people, the pressure of living up to the expectations becomes too much – social media is filled with pictures of perfect family celebrations and TV is filled with commercials that present you with an idealised version of Christmas. This might put you down, especially if you can’t afford to spend a lot of money on presents or decorations.
Christmas comes with an increased amount of responsibilities which on top of having a job is too much to handle for a lot of people. Responsibilities don’t just mean more stress but also more spending. You might worry that Christmas will put them in debt but feel like you aren’t in a position to refuse to participate.
What Mental Health Issues Can Worsen During Festive Period?
Any mental health condition can be affected when you’re under a lot of stress. However, Christmas might be especially difficult for someone with social anxiety as there’s a lot of pressure to socialise; attending work parties and taking part in a Secret Santa. Similarly, people who suffer from an eating disorder might find this period extra challenging as most of the celebration revolves around food. They might worry about putting on weight and hearing their family members comment on their appearance. For someone who struggled with an addiction, the risk of relapsing is high as there’s a lot of drinking involved and heightened stress might make it more likely to go back to old habits.
Tips To Reduce Anxiety
1. Lower your expectations
Remember that you can’t please everyone and that being with your loved ones should be the priority. Try not to compare yourself to others and reduce your to-do list to items that are absolutely necessary.
2. Include self-care in your routine
Doing something you enjoy will allow you to keep the stress at bay. Make sure you cultivate self-love as much as love for your family this Christmas.
3. Plan in advance
Don’t leave everything until the last minute to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Make a to-do list as soon as possible.
4. Add exercise to your schedule
Regular exercise will decrease your cravings and make you less likely to turn to food to cope with stress.
If the stress becomes too much, don’t be afraid to ask for professional help. Contact My Family Psychologist for a confidential chat