Top tips for fighting festive stress
With Christmas less than a month away, many of us are finding ourselves firmly in ‘party season’. While this might be seen as a welcome change for many, given the past year of lockdowns, for lots of us, it also comes with its worries.
To help, we caught up with our very own Sarah Cannon at Living Well UK to get her top tips on how to cope this Christmas:
Why might people be feeling anxious about having lots of party plans in the diary this year?
After a year of ever-changing periods of lockdowns and isolation, there could be various reasons for anxiety around festive plans this year. Anxiety around COVID is still a factor and people may be fearful of socialising in large groups of people for fear of spreading the virus. Adding to this the pressures that we may feel around seeing everyone before Christmas Day itself, especially after last year where the people that we were able to see was very much limited. We may feel an added pressure of not wanting to let others down who may be excited to share a part of the festive season with us. What’s more, we may not be as used to socialising as we were pre pandemic, maybe our interests have changed and we are worried about how others may respond to this.
What can people do to overcome these feelings of stress and anxiety?
The first thing to do is to accept that it is ok to feel like this. There is a lot going on over the festive season: from parties and present buying; to family gatherings and potentially tying things up at work. Therefore, it is normal to feel overwhelmed with so much going on. There is often a pressure at Christmas that we ‘should’ feel a certain way and this isn’t always the case. However you feel about the Christmas period is valid!
If you are feeling overwhelmed, here are some things you can try:
- Think about what is important to you – what do you value during this time? Maybe it is spending time with loved ones, maybe it is helping others, maybe it is time relaxing. Whatever it is, think about what is important to you and choose to do things that align with these values.
- Ensure you take time out for yourself. It can be all too easy to get swept away in what we feel we ‘should’ be doing at Christmas; all the places and people we ‘should’ be seeing. Ensuring that we are rested and feeling at our best will help us to be more present when we do go out and socialise.
- Talk to others – take time to talk to others about how you feel. This may mean speaking up about important boundaries or talking about how you’re feeling with someone that you trust. Being open ensures we are communicating our needs at this time and allows for others to support us.
What are the signs of ‘party burnout’, or ‘social burnout’?
You might notice that you’re feeling more tired in your everyday life, or having difficulties sleeping. You might also find worries and fears about your next social event may be becoming the focal point for your thoughts, or you might find yourself wishing to withdraw more from others and feeling emotionally quite drained.
How can we set boundaries around festive plans without feeling bad about it, worrying about offending people or feeling like we’re missing out?
Firstly it is important to work out what is important to you at this time. Maybe you have a limit on the amount of money you are willing to spend, or time you want to go out for, or indeed who you want to see. Once you are clear on what is important to you then remind yourself that this is important to you and that is why you are setting the boundaries.
Once you have a clear idea of what your boundaries are it is important to communicate this calmly, clearly and in a respectful way to the people that this may impact. It is important to be realistic with yourself and accept that you may feel uncomfortable setting the boundary; however, reminding yourself how you will feel if you don’t and the reasons as to why this boundary are important to you can be helpful. This is your way of self-care. You cannot control other people’s reactions to your boundary setting but you can control how you relay the boundary to others.
If you say no to something, will you miss out? It can be helpful to think of it in this way, if you are saying “no” to something, it means that you are saying “yes” to something else that is important to you, even if that is rest and recuperation! There will always be consequences with our choices but there will be benefits too. It is important to remember that we are in control of what we choose to do or not do. It is our choice and we are choosing to act in line with what is important to us.
If you’re feeling a little low, anxious, or worried, get in touch with Living Well UK. We’re here to help. You can LiveChat with us, or call us on 0121 663 1217.