“A lot of people find Christmas a nightmare as they have ghosts of Christmas past. Memories of previous happy Christmases can painfully clash with the present. It’s the day itself, it’s a standout, it focuses the mind,” according to Rev Bill Crews of Sydney’s Exodus Foundation.
However, practical tips on dealing with stress over Christmas include:
- Decide which Christmas activities and traditions are most significant to you. Only participate in those activities that have significance for you and decline the activities which cause stress or are insignificant for you.
- Christmas time tends to be a time when people spend more money than they can afford. Make a Christmas budget and stick with it.
- Take care of yourself. Eat right, get enough sleep and exercise.
- Control your alcohol consumption and limit your indulgence in high fat or sugary foods.
- Recognize signs of stress and use relaxation techniques when you begin to get irritated or upset such taking a few deep breaths, going for a walk or taking a break.
- Have realistic expectations of family and friends. Just because it is Christmas, does not mean the attitudes or behaviours of relatives and friends will change. Accept this and plan how you will respond to help keep the Christmas spirit.
- Make time for yourself. This time does not need to cost anything and can include going for a walk or reading a book. Schedule time for yourself during the busy Christmas period.
- Delegate Christmas tasks and ask for help. Communicate openly and remember it’s ok to say “no”.
- Don’t carry the entire burden if you experience persistent low mood or anxiety, consider professional help. There is a wealth of experience and expertise available to deal with mental health difficulties.
If you need help in a crisis, call Lifeline (https://www.lifeline.org.au/) on 13 11 14. For further information about depression contact beyondblue (https://www.beyondblue.org.au/) on 1300224636 or talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust.
Inala Community House would like to encourage all our community members to stay mindful of your health – not just physically but mentally.
To avoid social isolation or depression, you can join our Community Support Program (CSP) which offers various activities to form meaningful friendships and experiences. To sign up, please contact Haley Kiata (via e-mail email@example.com or telephone 3372 1711).