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Tips to avoid stress at Christmas time

For some people, Christmas can be stressful.

The Christmas holidays are a happy and joyful occasion for most people, but for some it can be a worrying and even distressing time.

Director of Mental Health Dr John Allan said the expense of gifts and food, the pressure of shopping and the expectations of the festive season could make Christmas an extremely stressful time.

“Unfortunately, some people find themselves alone at Christmas, leading to feelings of isolation and depression and even those who spend Christmas with family and friends can experience negative feelings.

“Hosting events and worrying about all the arrangements and expectations can end up making the festive season very stressful and busy.”

Dr Allan said this time of year could stir up many emotions in people and it was important for family and friends to be on the lookout for each other.

“If someone has experienced relationship issues or financial pressures, this tends to be the time of year when emotions can boil over.

“This is actually a time of need for many in our community. We all need to support each other to help cope with the pressure of the holidays.

“Something as simple as a phone call to a relative or friend to let them know they have support could mean a world of difference to that person.”

Dr Allan said the silly season didn’t have to be stressful.

“It’s important for people to recognise the early signs of stress so they can act on them and prevent future anxiety.

“Knowing how stress impacts on our lives can help us to prepare, prevent and cope with busy times or even that tense family dinner.

“There’s also little things you can do like setting up a ‘to-do’ list to help you feel organised during the busy season.

“Try reducing your stress by staying active and eating healthy foods over the break. Make sure you’re eating plenty of nutritious fruit and vegetables and get regular exercise.”

If you or someone you know is experiencing an emotional crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Last updated: 21 December 2015