Stress over Christmas, mental health imbalance, and well-being can be a challenge in this supposed-to-be cheerful and filled with joy phase of the year.
Are you familiar with this? Just to let you know: you’re not alone in this.
Christmas time, for religious or non-religious people, is a family gathering time.
That coincides with the almost end of the year. It’s inevitable to make a balance of the year.
Besides, in almost western countries: less sunlight exposure, which might mean an accentuation of symptoms of depression or anxiety, if you have or are prone to this illnesses.
In addition to all this: the financial strain of Christmas gifts.
Might not be for everyone, but effectively, there are people unemployed, or with salaries restrained, or simply because of price inflation as a result of Covid circumstances.
If you are religious you probably have your religion/faith to hang on to.
If you’re not religious nor have some sort of spiritual structure of support: that leaves you with family.
And if the family is a nest of toxic or unresolved relationships (possibly? who knows it better than you?): Christmas can be a real challenge.
If you’re alone (living by yourself, widowed, or divorced) or even if you’re not, but feel some sort of spiritual loneliness, as if the environment you are in is not your true tribe… Christmas can be a challenge. Stressy. Christmas can come and bring some extra stress.
And you have to cope with Christmas stress. What else can you do?
Coping With Christmas Stress
Christmas is stressful. Period.
Whether you have to travel to visit relatives – very much in a “Hey Gringo” mood, or if you are going to receive people at home: Either way you have to plan, who you are visiting, when you are visiting. If people are coming to your house, plan what will you all eat. What presents to buy…
The best way to cope with the stress is to keep some of your routines, if possible: if you exercise in the morning, keep on doing it… whatever. Just some daily routine. Chose one. To keep you grounded and have you some needed “Me time”.
Shield Off Your Mental Health And Nurture Your Wellbeing
Gathering With Friends And Family
Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many commitments. Learn to say no. Your time might not be enough to please everybody.
Avoid conflicting issues. Do you know that cousin of yours? That is always comparing your lives, your incomes, your kids’ results in school… Be kind: cherish him and his conquers.
Just because he/she uses you as a standard to check if his life is ok or not: It doesn’t mean you have to fall into that comparison trap.
So Christmas is all about gathering. Do your best to enjoy it then!
Ok: not all people would be your first choice for happy conviviality, but his family comes with the package of the ones you do love…
Be kind to them, give them a chance, show some real curiosity, ask questions with intention of getting to know them better, not with intention of judging: maybe some barrier will fall down…
If you already know is a toxic relative: just keep your safe distance: for your own sanity!
Be present to those you really love and cherish their presence. It’s one of the most rewarding things in life. Even during Christmas.
Dedicate some time to play with the children: you’ll find that very rewarding. They still have that sparkle in the eye for Christmas joy… If nothing else does: children do make Christmas worth going through.
Watch What You Eat And Drink
By unfortunate tradition: Christmas time is a period of exaggerations.
Cut off the bad part of the tradition and keep the good part of it.
Don’t get carried away and control alcohol consumption. Even if you are not on medication. Alcohol is a good conviviality “tool”: but if when one gets’ off their limit, it becomes unpleasant, the environment gets heavy. Not a good idea. Stick to your rule. An drink only during meals.
And make sure your body is well hydrated. With water. To help to dissolve and to expel all the excess you might eventually consume.
Talking about meals: don’t stay all day long eating one after another. Maybe it's a good idea to continue to have 3 meals, instead of only one, prolonged, very prolonged…
It will imbalance your metabolism. And if you're prone to depression or anxiety: it will affect your digestion, your sleep, your mood… Keep it together.
And sugar? We all are bombarded with sugar during Christmas time… An sugar is more addictive than cocaine. When you add sugar to refined carbs (cakes and most desserts): you have the perfect combination to accentuate your depression symptoms as well as to have rushes of anxiety. Alcohol also helps in this “scenario of catastrophe"
When you eat too much sugar it causes your blood sugar to behave like a rollercoaster: up and down. That affects your energy, making it going up and down as well.
When your blood sugar goes down, your levels of anxiety easily take a peak and your mood resents too.
So: if you are prone to anxiety disorder and or depression symptoms, beware of sugar, alcohol, and refined carbs. That’s the recipe to increase anxiety, get into depression and mood swings. Might be a good idea to keep the sugar to dessert after a meal – and control, instead of doing it all day long.
All that in the mane of your mental sanity.
Exercise Your Body
For your own sake: exercise. To deal with overwhelming family issues, or not. Exercise to deal with the extra sugar that you eventually put in, to deal with anxiety. Exercise.
All that energy that you are accumulating through the Christmas holidays: just don’t. Do not accumulate.
Besides, exercise because of all the breathing work that involves: it puts your lymphatic system to function. And your lymphatic system is your body’s way to flush the waste and impurities through perspiration, bowel movements, urine, and your breath.
Exercise: let all the garbage come out. Let energy do its best: transform (Lavoisier’s law). In a way, that benefits you: through exercise. Get fit in the body. Get fit in the head.
Exercise will put some of the garbage out. But you still have to manage mental garbage getting in: manage your expectations. Not lowering them: just manage.
Ok: one is allowed to dream whatever one can.
But let’s level here a bit: all hose commercials showing happy perfect families, the “Last Christmas” snow-friends-bungalow environment of George Michael’s clip, or “All I Want for Christmas Is you” Mariah’s mood… Yes, you can get some or even a lot of it: just don’t expect it to be perfect as it shows on commercials or music videos.
But supposing you don’t want to have those runaway urges kind of "I want to fly away from here”, then: practice gratitude.
Be grateful for what you have, and appreciate the good things/moments that you can create.
Focus on what you can control. That includes you.
And if by the end, Christmas wasn’t exactly what you expected: paint a better picture for the next Christmas. And work for it: in your relationships, in the environment that you wish and deserve to have.
Remember that your reality is an act of creation.
Limit Your Christmas Budget
It’s Christmas. Those who still have it: there's the 13th month of salary to spend.
But don’t spend more than you have. Use a budget and stick to it.
Abundance isn’t having everything. Abundance is having everything you need when you need it.
Make sure you buy what you need.
And just because it's Christmas you don’t have to go and buy everything and be caught in debt at the beginning of 2022 - it's not a very good starting of the year.
Plan your shopping. Plan what you are buying and how much you’ll be spending with whom. That’s an awesome way to close the year.
Christmas is supposed to celebrate family and friends: do that. You don’t have to go into debt to enjoy friends and family's company.
The ones who really love you: will love you just the same.