Updated: Jun 14
Christmas is coming and on paper, it should be a wonderful and joyous time of year. Time to slow down and recharge. Eating good food. Giving and receiving gifts. Spending time with your loved ones. And Christmas cheer and goodwill everywhere.
But it doesn’t always make for the most wonderful time of the year (and the song lyrics can feel very ironic).
In this blog, I’m sharing a few tips for how to manage Christmas stress and make this Christmas a time of joy and calm - not stress and pressure!
Why is Christmas stressful?
How to change your perspective of Christmas
How to self-care during Christmas
How to gift others calm and confidence
How to handle Pets and stress during Christmas
What Makes Christmas Stressful?
According to research from YouGov, at least a quarter of us find Christmas the most challenging part of the year, often to the point that it affects mental health.
While many of us love Christmas, it can bring a lot of stress for many different reasons.
It's almost the end of the year and 2023 is almost here, end-of-year pressure is huge too. We can look back on the year and feel that we need to up our game next year (even if that’s not true).
Your workload may not decrease at Christmas - it can increase if anything. The kids are off school, the family may be off work and the home won’t run itself. That’s on top of the added pressures of Christmas cooking, buying gifts, and trying not to break the bank.
For some of us, being around extended family can be anything but joyful. The holidays can stir up tension and trauma from past experiences and unresolved hurt. The traditional image of the happy family gathered around Christmas dinner can be optimistic and a source of conflict at worst. This is one part of Christmas that can bring a perceived loss of control as it’s so hard to predict how people will react.
And then there is overspending and debt that many of us get into on our quest for the “perfect” Christmas. According to the Bank of England, the average household spends an extra 29% more at Christmas than they would in a typical month and much of it becomes debt.
Is it any wonder we often experience panic attacks in the run-up to Christmas?
There is a lot that is out of our hands at this time of year, but we can control our response to stress and our attitude.
How to change your perspective of Christmas
Christmas can be a magical time to spend with the people we love. When you view Christmas in this way, there is far less pressure to spend lots of money. Focus on making memories together instead. Surrender your expectations of how it should be and the need to be in control of every part of Christmas. This can help you let go of the “what if?” scenarios in your mind.
Last Christmas was a very different one for me. I spent it confined to bed and a wheelchair after an accident injured my leg. Tired, frustrated, and in pain, I finally forced myself to watch The Grinch (after avoiding it for years) in a bid to regain some Christmas spirit. It taught me a lot, namely that the food, decorations, presents, and planning aren’t what really matters at Christmas. You can read more about how I learned the true meaning of Christmas in this blog post.
This year, I’m able to get around and visit Christmas markets, which feels like the biggest gift. I’m looking forward to a truly relaxing time where I can slow down and appreciate what I have. I hope you can do the same and take the chance to slow down and recharge for January. A brand new year awaits us and that can be exciting, not stressful.
How to self-care during Christmas
Prioritizing self-care means you can respond better to stress. Much as we would love to have a stress-free Christmas, there will always be some challenges to navigate. That’s life, right?
We may not be able to control what happens but we can control our response to it, and self-care is crucial for this.
Self-care can take many different forms - breathing exercises, a relaxing warm bath, indulging in Christmas movies, mindful walks, smells that remind you of the holidays, immersing yourself in the changing seasons, and of course, the magic of therapies such as Reiki and Hypnotherapy for relaxation, balance, inner peace and confidence.
However busy life gets, I urge you to not just keep up with your self-care but ramp it up. This is the time of year when it’s very much needed.
My combined therapy approach means that we can look at your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being so that you are fully supported in your self-care.
How to Give the Gift of Calm and Confidence this Christmas
Finding the perfect gifts can add a lot of pressure. We can put time and effort into finding something that will be well received by the recipient and worry that they’ll be disappointed with the result.
But what if you could make it easy to find a gift that will remove stress for both yourself and the people you love?
If you always struggle to find meaningful Christmas presents, give the gift of calm and confidence this year instead. My gift vouchers are very versatile - they can be used for any of my combined therapies, including a relaxing Reiki session or a hypnotherapy session.
How to handle stressed pets
If you’re stressed and anxious, your pet(s) can easily pick up on this. They’re like a sponge when it comes to emotions.
Studies have found that pets can be sensitive to human emotions. Their cortisol levels can rise in line with yours, as was shown in a study published in The Journal of Physiology and Behaviour.
From a study published in Animal Cognition, we know that pets engage in “social referencing” too. In other words, they use your emotions for cueing how to behave.
Did you know that I work with animals, as well as people? Animal Reiki is a beautiful tool for pets to stimulate their natural healing capacity and they can also communicate their emotions to me during the process. Universal Life Magazine published my journey to Animal healing, you can read the article and more information here.
We can do it remotely in the familiarity of your home and it’s non-invasive. By the end of the session, your pet can feel calm and the effects of stress can be reduced. You can see pictures and stories here or on my IG page.
Please contact me at email@example.com to book a session for your pet.
Christmas Doesn’t Have To Be Stressful
This year, I invite you to change how you feel about Christmas. It’s a wonderful time to build deeper connections with family and friends and strengthen your connection with yourself. You can even extend this perspective to the people around you by gifting them the first step on their self-development journey. How about that for a truly life-changing gift that will last far beyond Christmas itself?
Feel free to book a consultation to see how we can set you up for a calm Christmas that is also full of joy.
FAQs on Christmas Stress
Why is Christmas so stressful?
Christmas can be stressful for a variety of reasons. Here are some possible reasons why:
High expectations: Christmas is often seen as a time for joy, happiness, and togetherness with loved ones. However, these expectations can create stress when they're not met. For example, if you don't have a close relationship with your family, the pressure to spend time with them during the holidays can be overwhelming.
Financial pressure: Christmas can also be expensive. Gifts, decorations, and travel costs can add up quickly, and if you're already struggling to make ends meet, the added expense of the holidays can be stressful.
Social obligations: During the holiday season, there may be many social events to attend, such as parties, dinners, and gatherings. While these events can be fun, they can also be tiring and require a lot of energy and time to prepare for.
Time constraints: In addition to social obligations, the holiday season can be busy with other commitments, such as work, school, or family responsibilities. Trying to balance everything can be stressful and overwhelming.
Family dynamics: For some people, Christmas can be a difficult time because of family dynamics. Family conflicts, unresolved issues, and past traumas can make the holidays a challenging time.
All of these factors can contribute to the stress of Christmas. It's important to recognize what is causing your stress and take steps to manage it, such as setting realistic expectations, creating a budget, and prioritising self-care. If you need help dealing with Christmas stress check out my services.
How do I deal with Christmas stress?
Christmas can be a wonderful time of year, but it can also be stressful for many people. Here are some tips to help you deal with Christmas stress:
Plan ahead: Create a to-do list of everything you need to accomplish before Christmas day, and prioritise your tasks. This will help you stay organised and reduce the feeling of overwhelm.
Set a budget: Financial stress can be a major source of anxiety during the holiday season. Set a budget for gifts, food, and decorations, and stick to it.
Practice self-care: Take care of yourself by eating well, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly. Don't forget to take breaks and give yourself time to relax.
Simplify traditions: Focus on the traditions that are most important to you and your family, and let go of the rest. It's okay to say no to invitations or events that you feel obligated to attend.
Manage expectations: Don't put too much pressure on yourself to create the perfect holiday experience. Remember that the most important thing is spending time with loved ones and creating happy memories.
Seek support: Reach out to friends and family for support during the holiday season. If you're feeling overwhelmed or anxious, consider talking to a mental health professional like me for additional help and guidance.
Remember, it's okay to prioritise your own well-being during the holiday season. By taking steps to manage stress and anxiety, you can enjoy a happy and healthy Christmas.
How can I avoid Christmas stress?
Christmas can be a joyous time of the year, but it can also be very stressful for many people. Here are some tips to help you avoid Christmas stress:
Plan ahead: Start planning your Christmas preparations early to avoid last-minute stress. Make a list of everything you need to do, including gift shopping, meal planning, and decorating. Break down the tasks into smaller, manageable chunks, and prioritise what needs to be done first.
Stick to a budget: Overspending during the holiday season can lead to stress and financial strain. Set a budget for gifts, food, and other expenses, and stick to it.
Simplify traditions: Simplify your Christmas traditions to reduce stress. Consider having a potluck dinner instead of cooking everything yourself, or buying pre-made Christmas decorations instead of making them from scratch.
Take care of yourself: Make sure to take care of yourself during the holiday season. Get enough rest, eat healthy foods, and exercise regularly to reduce stress and boost your energy levels.
Practice gratitude: Take time to reflect on what you're grateful for during the holiday season. Focusing on the positive can help reduce stress and increase your enjoyment of the season.
Remember that Christmas should be a time for joy and celebration, so don't let stress get in the way of that. By planning ahead, simplifying your traditions, and taking care of yourself, you can enjoy a stress-free holiday season.
What are the common causes of Christmas stress?
Christmas is a joyful time of year, but it can also be a source of stress for many people. Some common causes of Christmas stress include:
Financial pressure: Christmas can be an expensive time of year, and the pressure to buy gifts, decorations, and food can be overwhelming.
Family tension: Spending extended periods of time with family members during the holidays can sometimes lead to conflict, especially if there are underlying tensions or unresolved issues.
Time constraints: There are often many events and obligations to attend during the holiday season, which can leave little time for rest and relaxation.
Travel arrangements: For those who need to travel to see family or friends, the logistics of transportation, accommodation, and packing can add to the stress.
Unrealistic expectations: The pressure to create the perfect Christmas experience, including the perfect meal, decorations, and gifts, can be overwhelming and cause stress.
Loneliness: For those who are alone or separated from loved ones during the holidays, feelings of loneliness and isolation can be especially acute.
Health concerns: The holiday season can be a time when people indulge in rich foods, alcohol, and other unhealthy behaviours, which can lead to physical and emotional stress.
How can I manage my holiday spending and avoid financial stress during Christmas?
Managing your holiday spending can be challenging, but there are several strategies you can use to avoid financial stress during Christmas. Here are some tips:
Create a budget: Set a realistic budget for your holiday spending and stick to it. Consider all your expenses, including gifts, food, decorations, and travel. Avoid impulse buying and keep track of your expenses.
Make a list: Make a list of everyone you want to buy gifts for and set a spending limit for each person. Consider making homemade gifts or buying gifts on sale.
Use cash: Using cash instead of credit cards can help you avoid overspending. Withdraw the amount you need for your holiday expenses and leave your credit cards at home.
Plan ahead: Start your holiday shopping early to avoid the last-minute rush. Look for deals and discounts online or in-store, and consider shopping on Cyber Monday or Black Friday.
Cut back on non-essential expenses: Consider cutting back on non-essential expenses to save money during the holiday season. For example, you could eat out less, limit your entertainment expenses, or reduce your holiday travel.
Prioritise experiences over material possessions: Remember that the holidays are about spending time with loved ones, not just buying gifts. Consider doing activities together like baking cookies or watching holiday movies instead of focusing solely on gift-giving.
By following these tips, you can manage your holiday spending and avoid financial stress during Christmas.
How can I handle family conflicts and tensions during Christmas gatherings?
Dealing with family conflicts and tensions during Christmas gatherings can be challenging, but here are some tips that may help:
Set boundaries: Before the gathering, it may be helpful to set some boundaries for yourself. Think about what you are willing to tolerate and what you are not. This may include limiting your time at the gathering or deciding not to engage in certain conversations.
Practise active listening: When conflicts arise, it can be helpful to practise active listening. This means truly listening to the other person's point of view without interrupting or getting defensive. Try to understand where they are coming from and validate their feelings.
Use "I" statements: Instead of using accusatory language, try to use "I" statements to express your feelings. For example, instead of saying "You always do this," try saying "I feel hurt when this happens."
Take breaks: If you feel overwhelmed or stressed, it's okay to take a break from the gathering. Go for a walk, take a nap, or spend some time alone to recharge.
Focus on the positive: While conflicts may arise, try to focus on the positive aspects of the gathering. Remember that this is a time to celebrate and spend time with loved ones.
Seek professional help: If family conflicts and tensions are persistent and difficult to manage, it may be helpful to seek professional help from a therapist to provide you with tools and strategies to manage conflicts and improve communication within your family.
We can release your traumas and negative beliefs to make sure that family gatherings won’t cause you panic attacks, anxiety or stomach issues.
How can I cope with loneliness and depression during the holidays?
Loneliness and depression during the holidays can be particularly difficult to deal with, especially when many people around you seem to be happy and surrounded by loved ones. Here are some strategies that may help you cope:
Connect with others: Even if you can't be with family or friends in person, there are many ways to connect with others. You can call or video chat with loved ones, join an online support group or forum, or volunteer at a local charity.
Practice self-care: Take care of yourself by getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising regularly. Take time to relax and do things you enjoy, such as reading a book, watching a movie, or taking a bath.
Set realistic expectations: The holidays can be stressful and overwhelming, so try to set realistic expectations for yourself. Focus on what you can control and don't put too much pressure on yourself to make everything perfect.
Create new traditions: If you can't be with your usual holiday traditions, create new ones that you can do on your own or with others. This could be baking a new recipe, watching a favourite movie, or taking a walk to see holiday decorations.
Seek professional help: If you're feeling particularly down or overwhelmed, it may be helpful to talk to a mental health professional. They can provide support, guidance, and treatment if necessary. Please check how my services can help you during this time. A relaxing hypnotherapy or a recharging reiki session will boost your immune system and help your mental wellbeing.
Remember, it's okay to feel lonely or sad during the holidays, and it's important to take care of yourself during this time. Reach out to others for support, practice self-care, and seek professional help if needed.
What are some healthy coping strategies for dealing with Christmas stress?
The holiday season, including Christmas, can be a stressful time for many people. Here are some healthy coping strategies for dealing with Christmas stress:
Practice self-care: Make sure you are taking care of yourself by getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and engaging in regular physical activity.
Set boundaries: Learn to say no and set boundaries for yourself to avoid overcommitting and feeling overwhelmed.
Plan ahead: Make a to-do list and schedule tasks in advance to avoid last-minute stress.
Practice relaxation techniques: Take breaks to practise relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga.
Seek support: Reach out to friends or family members for emotional support or seek professional help if needed.
Manage expectations: Be realistic about your expectations for the holiday season, and don't put too much pressure on yourself to have the "perfect" holiday.
Focus on the positives: Focus on the positive aspects of the holiday season, such as spending time with loved ones, rather than getting bogged down by stress and negativity.
Remember, it's important to prioritise your mental and physical health during the holiday season. By implementing these healthy coping strategies, you can reduce stress and enjoy the holidays to the fullest.