Christmas is a time of happiness for many people. It’s when we catch up with old friends and return home to have Christmas dinner with siblings and extended family. While this represents a joyful time for so many, for others it can be fraught with stress and anxiety.
Being forced to sit at the same table as someone you don’t see eye-to-eye with is not a pleasant thought, while keeping a smile on your face through it all can seem impossible. On top of that, there’s the shopping to contend with in the build-up to Christmas Day. However, it doesn’t need to be such a difficult time. All it takes is a little bit of stress management. Here are five self-care tips to reduce stress this festive season.

1. Make a list, check it twice: It sounds simple but for many, Christmas shopping is particularly stressful because they are aimlessly running around crowded shops without a list. Handle shopping stress by writing out exactly what you need.

2. Monitor your alcohol intake: Christmas can be full of social engagements and, unless you pick and choose your nights out, you can end up drinking alcohol several nights in a row. Alcohol is a depressant that should only be consumed in moderation. Overdoing it can leave you open to feeling on-edge.

3. Avoid conflicts: Picture the scene: Christmas dinner is ready and you’re about to dine with a few family members you share a fraught history with. Pointed remarks can make you want to react. If you must react, do so constructively. Be assertive when making a point, but never angry.

4. Practice mindfulness: Learning how to live in the moment is a powerful stress-relieving tool. The festive season might bring moments that make you feel uncomfortable but these moments are fleeting in the context of our lives and that realisation can be a real comfort.

5. Plan your budget: Between buying gifts and going out for social engagements, Christmas is an expensive time. However, it’s not worth falling into financial difficulty over. Plan your spending in advance and stick to it.

If you’re going to find Christmas stress hard and don’t feel you can talk to friends or family, now might be the time to think about reaching out for some professional help. Talking to loved ones isn’t always easy, but a trained psychologist can give you the support you need to help you through the Christmas and New Year celebrations. Please feel free to reach out to discuss private sessions with me by visiting  – I love helping clients and design a plan to handle stress.


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