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Matthew Bates

Clinical Hypnotherapist & Psychotherapist

When Ho! Ho! Ho!  becomes Oh! Oh! Oh!

The festive season, while meant for joy and reconnecting with loved ones, can also bring stress, anxiety, and depression. The demands of gift shopping, cooking, decorating and hosting can be overwhelming. Loneliness can also set in if we’re away from loved ones or grieving a loss. Anxiety and depression may arise from reflecting on the past year or dreading the next, especially after the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis.

How can we cope with these challenges and enjoy the festive season without compromising our mental health? Here are some tips that might help:

Plan ahead

To avoid stress during the holiday, prioritise tasks and obligations, make a list of what needs to be done, and allocate time and resources accordingly. Be realistic about what you can achieve and don’t be afraid to say no to non-essential or stressful activities.

Set boundaries

Another source of stress during the festive season is feeling pressured to please others or to conform to their expectations. To avoid this, try to set boundaries and communicate them clearly to the people around you. For example, if you are not feeling up to attending a social event, or if you prefer to celebrate in a different way, let them know politely and don’t feel guilty about it.

Practice self-care

The best ways to manage anxiety, stress, and depression are to engage in activities that make you feel happy and relaxed, like reading, listening to music, or watching a movie. Take care of your basic needs such as healthy eating, keeping hydrated, get sufficient sleep, and regular exercise. These habits can enhance your mood, reduce stress, and improve sleep quality.

Seek support

You are not alone in feeling anxious, stressed or depressed during the festive season. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your family, friends, or other trusted people and talk to them about how you feel. You can also seek professional help from a GP, a therapist or contact one of the mental health helplines that are available 24/7. Remember that there is always someone who can help, you don’t have to suffer in silence.

Wishing you all the best for the season

Matthew Bates