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How to Manage Stress During Christmas

Updated: Jun 14, 2023

woman stressed

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?

happy family during christmas

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

santa dog

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 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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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?

How can I avoid Christmas stress?

What are the common causes of Christmas stress?

How can I manage my holiday spending and avoid financial stress during Christmas?

How can I handle family conflicts and tensions during Christmas gatherings?

How can I cope with loneliness and depression during the holidays?

What are some healthy coping strategies for dealing with Christmas stress?


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