With Christmas Day and other holidays fast approaching, we need to acknowledge that these can be stressful times. And as psychology students and psychology professionals, we know the downsides that stress can have on mental health and no one wants to experience a decrease in mental health at this time of year especially. Therefore, in today’s clinical psychology episode, I’ll give you five ways to reduce holiday stress so you can stop stressing and go back to the enjoyment of the season.
This episode has been sponsored by Forensic Psychology (I wanted to change up the sponsor). Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it.
5 Ways To Reduce Holiday Stress
Be Mindful of Worsening Mental Health Difficulties
The reason why this is a clinical psychology episode is because of this point entirely. As I’ve mentioned on the podcast before mental health conditions and difficulties are maladaptive coping mechanisms and stress tends to make them worse. Meaning the holiday season can be extremely difficult for some people so we need to be mindful of this.
Whether this is our own mental health or if one of our friends or family members suffers from a mental health difficulty, we need to help them get through the season. Then you’ll probably find because we showed kindness to them, they will probably help us too.
In addition, it isn’t helpful to mental health sufferers that in the holiday season we are constantly said to be happy and cheery. This isn’t helpful to these people especially if they aren’t doing well always.
Therefore, we all need to support each other and if you, your friends or family members aren’t doing well. Then support them of course, but don’t feel bad for calling a doctor or helpline.
Plan Fun Things
We all know the craziness of the holiday season. There’s so much shopping to do, presents and food to buy. There’s lots of food to eat, you need to check who’s coming on the big day and on and on and on.
This is why I always try to help my mum as much as I can in the Holiday season because I don’t want her to get stressed as she planned Christmas.
And I don’t want you to even.
The entire holiday season is meant to be joyous and filled with love, laughter and enjoyment. Not stress.
This is why planning fun things that are just fun is so important. You need time to create new fun memories and do things that take you away from the stress of planning, shopping and cooking.
You could walk around your neighbourhood to look at the Christmas lights, bake something fun and interesting or simply have some quality family time without the stress.
With all the amazing people who listen (or reads) this podcast coming from all over the world with different life circumstances and situations, this point is critical and it applies to all of us at different points in time.
Sometimes people will be in financial difficulty and I have heard this from other people about the stress this causes them at Christmas. Since Christmas is thought of as a time of overeating, indulgence and spending a lot of money.
For some people this isn’t possible, making them feel bad and causing them a lot of stress. Since they may believe they are failing their family.
As a result, finding alternatives can be a great idea this holiday season because instead of stressing out about buying lots of presents. You could get your family together and get them to pick one person to buy one present for them.
I know this sounds awful to some people because this means they’re going to get less presents but if money is tight and Christmas is unaffordable. Then this still gives people a chance to celebrate Christmas and maybe the family can put money towards another aspect of Christmas. Like the Christmas day feast.
If Times Are Tough, Don’t Hide It
Building upon the last point, the economy is constantly changing I don’t know when you’re going to be reading or listening to this episode. You could be listening when it’s released or in three years time, so I don’t know what the economy will be like.
However, Christmas is always a reminder for some families how little they can afford and for other families it’s a reminder of what they can no longer afford.
Yet a major problem with this is children tend to notice what is missing and they too can get stressed and anxious as their imaginations wonder what’s happening. As well as this doesn’t only happen to young children as it was only a few months ago, I was starting to get concerned that my parents were in a financial problem, but we spoke about it they reassured
me that nothing was wrong in the slightest.
So if times are tough, do talk about it.
Not only will it help to relax your children or family who could be imagining something a lot
worse, talking about it might make you feel better too.
The Holiday Season Is For Pacing Yourself
Finally, I cannot recommend enough that you pace yourself in the holiday season.
Due to the entire idea of last minute planning, shopping and cooking is silly and it will surely lead to burnout and stress. You do not want to be panicking at any point during the holiday season and you don’t want anything to bottleneck. For example, you don’t want to start your hours of cooking whilst you have children to keep entertained and talk to family members.
Therefore, I recommend that you figure out how to pace yourself so the holiday season is calm, relaxed and near perfect.
As this is another thing that I will conclude today’s episode with, the holiday season will never be perfect. That is a fantasy that will guarantee stress as things will go wrong, but whilst the holiday season can be trying, the reward of the big day and the love, food and presents with friends and family can all make it worthwhile.
I wish you a happy Christmas, happy holidays and whatever else you celebrate!
I really hope you enjoyed today’s clinical psychology episode.
If you want to support the podcast and give it a bit of festive love, please check out:
Forensic Psychology Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it.
Clinical Psychology Reference
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