Christmas can be a stressful time of the year for many. This year might prove to be even more so with all we have been through the last 12 months. So what can you do to keep anxiety and panic at bay?
You are not alone.
2020 has been a year like no other. We have all had to adapt our lives and make changes like never before. The festive season this year might have to be different too. It maybe that you don’t want to meet up with friends and family as you feel there is a risk. Or it might be that you are not going to be able to spend this year with loved ones due to Covid. Either way, remember you are not alone, many others are also having a hard time. This too shall pass and we will come out the other side.
There is always so much to think about at this time of the year so write things down. Whether it’s the shopping you need, a ‘to do’ list, or just a ‘don’t forget’ note, put it down on paper or in a notebook. This will firstly help you to organize your time. It will also help clear your head from clutter and give you an easy way to prioritize tasks
Sleep / rest
Lack of sleep will only stress the body and make you feel tired and unable to cope. So even if you have the urge to stay up later try to be reasonable. If you have a late-night, try to get a small lie in or have a nap the following day to catch up.
Alcohol may ease your anxiety for a while but consuming too much and the morning after feeling are both hard prices to pay. Stick to the odd glass or even better, alcohol free. On the other hand, drink plenty of water. Many things can aggravate or trigger anxiety and dehydration is one of them. When our bodies are dehydrated they do not function as well. Water makes up on average 60 – 70 percent of the human body, it carries hormones and nutrients to their destinations, so when fluid consumption is reduced this procedure starts to slow down and can cause many disagreeable symptoms.
Be aware of what you eat
What should you do at this time of the year with all the tempting food and snacks around? You don’t have to refuse every mince pie or piece of Christmas cake, you just need to be sensible and aware of what you are eating. Moderation is the key. If you feel you have over indulged one day, try to have a bit of a detox for the next 24 hours sticking to ‘healthy foods’.
Stay in the moment
Being mindful and staying in the here and now is a great way to avoid anxiety taking over. It’s about living in the present moment and not worrying about what you didn’t do yesterday or what might happen tomorrow. Mindfulness helps us manage our emotions at the same time decreases stress, anxiety and depression. By taking just 6 minutes of your day and practising this simple exercise somewhere quiet where you won’t be disturbed you will be doing yourself a great favour. https://nopanic.org.uk/a-moment-of-mindfulness-video/
Look after number one
It is all well and good racing around and making sure everyone is looked after and has the right gift but you need to look after yourself as a priority. This means listening to your body: Are you tired? Are you hungry/thirsty? Are you uptight or stressed? Sometimes you just have to say ‘no’, it may be scary to begin with but those who matter the most will understand. Catering for your own needs is not selfish it is essential for your wellbeing.
Take time out
Sometimes it’s nice just to get away from the hustle and bustle. Take yourself off to a quiet place and have a bit of ‘you’ time, tricky I know if your house is full but you are allowed to have a few minutes to unwind and get yourself back on track.
Exercise can lift a person’s mood considerably, relieve tension and stress and boost physical and mental energy. Exercise also increases our body temperature which can have a calming effect. It will also help tire the body for restful sleep, which is also important when trying to keep control over all the festive anxiety.
Social media has a great habit of making us put ourselves down. Looking at those pictures or reading the posts of acquaintances having the ‘perfect’ Christmas with the ‘just what I always wanted’ presents is a sure way to dampen your spirits. Anyway, they can’t be having such an amazing time if they are sat in front of a mobile phone or computer screen. If you know the comparison game leaves you feeling down in the dumps, avoid it.
Wear a smile if you can, not just a turn up of the corners of your lips but a full blown smile that incorporates your whole face. It has been proven that smiling triggers a chemical reaction in the brain, releasing certain feel-good hormones. In other words, smiling can trick your brain into believing you’re happy. Look around your own life and be grateful for as much as possible.
Stay within your budget
The temptation of overspending is stronger at this time of year than any other according to a recent survey. The pressure of purchasing the ‘perfect gift’ or buying extravagant food and drink is thrown at us from all angles. The secret is to avoid the temptation of overspending that you will regret at a later date. When you go shopping, just take the cash you can afford, leave credit/debit cards at home. Make a list of things you need and stick to it.
If you are feeling stressed or finding it hard to cope, tell someone. Don’t keep things bottled up inside. Whether it’s someone with you or a phone call away, speak out. If need be you can always call our helpline open 365 days of the year from 10am until 10pm on: 0300 7729 844.