Christmas Anxiety Tips

Thanks to everyone who submitted tips for surviving Christmas! We hope that these tips will be useful all year.

31st December Tip:

The New Year is often seen as a fresh start. Think about what you’d like to achieve in 2011 and write yourself a message at FutureMe.org to be sent later in the year so you can track the progress of your goals. You may be surprised by how much you’ve achieved down the road or it may spur you on to do even more.

Happy New Year from Anxiety UK!

30th December Tip:

Do what you feel most comfortable with. If you don’t feel up to getting together with friends for what sometimes feels like ‘mandatory merry making’ and would prefer to have a quiet night in, don’t feel guilty. You can always join them next time!

29th December Tip:

If you”re one of the many people who find the holidays stressful, it can be comforting to realise that you”re not alone. And whatever you do, DO NOT blame yourself about it. Many, many people find the holidays a bit tough to deal with.

28th December Tip:

Schedule time for yourself. Writing in time on your calendar for a few breaks in the holiday madness will remind you to slow down and enjoy yourself. Spend some time watching a movie with a friend, making paper snowflakes with the kids or just reading a good book. Downtime is an important tool in reducing stress during this hectic season.

27th December Tip:

Make a list when there’s too much on the mind. Stop the mental clutter by writing it on to paper. It works!

26th December Tip:

Music is a fantastic way to lift your spirits if you are feeling overwhelmed by Christmas and all that it brings. The radio stations are playing lots of joyful Christmas tunes and even the most tiresome of Christmas chores seem more enjoyable with some Christmas music playing in the background
Submitted by Carol on 20th December

25th December Tip:

My tip – use the time to get some sleep, I always feel a lot better when I have slept well, don”t feel guilty for taking some “me” time at the end of the day everyone else will benefit too.
Submitted by Abigail F on 20th December

24th December Tip:

If you are prone to leaving gift buying to the last minute but can’t face the busy shopping centre, make your own gifts. Being creative will occupy your mind with something positive and whoever you give the gift to will appreciate your personal efforts more than if you’d bought them a pressie from the shop.

23rd December Tip:

Get in touch with someone you’ve lost touch with. Reconnecting with someone from your past could connect you to better times. These days there are so many ways to find those you’ve lost touch with so get online and reach out!

22nd December Tip:

My tip – that I”m trying to follow myself – is to remember that Christmas will be all over in a few days time, and this bout of anxiety will pass too, like all the other ones did. Today it is snowing heavily and all the plans I had for Christmas preparations have had to be shelved. Added to this my small child has taken a preference to the old not-very-nice decorations and my husband has made a hash of the rest! But actually it really doesn”t matter. They are having a lovely time and I can have a cup of camomile (doing my best to relax) and let it all go. Hope you can too!

Submitted by Julie on 18th December

21st December Tip:

Surprise yourself! If you need a change, this year’s celebrations are an opportunity to do something that you have not done before.

20th December Tip:

Christmas can certainly seem as if it”s designed to increase stress and anxiety – too crowded, too noisy, too expensive, too high a burden of expectation, and so on. This is a shame, because it can be a “still point” in the year, a little psychological resting place where you can recharge your batteries in the depth of winter.

So, attend to the basics – plenty of sleep and rest, eat well and take a little exercise if you can. A very useful way of bringing down anxiety is through your breathing. Basically, if you breathe out for longer than you breathe in, you activate the parasympathetic nervous system – the body”s natural relaxation mechanism. Try breathing in to a count of 5 and out to a count of 9, but the exact count doesn”t matter, just as long as you make sure you exhale for longer than you inhale. People have submitted some good tips here, and the main message is – be kind to yourself!

Submitted by Ian on 14th December

19th December Tip:

Christmas is not always an easy time for anyone, and for those of us who have issues with excessive worrying it can be a real mare. I find that the pressure of feeling I “ought” to do things is much worse at the moment. So I”ve decided this year to stuff the oughts along with the turkey! For example I feel like I ought to post 10,000 Christmas cards (OK a bit of an exaggeration I don”t really have that many friends). My tip this year is to only post cards to people who I don”t communicate with at any other time of the year. The others will understand.

Submitted by Julie on 9 December

18th December Tip:

Don’t forget to eat properly. While Christmas is often a time when we indulge in food and drink, remember that in excess, these can also act as a depressant. So eat as healthy as you can this time of year while still enjoying the odd treat and tipple.

17th December Tip:

If you feel in danger of being isolated or lonely during Christmas, join a group that has activities during this time. Being with supportive people who share your interests is helpful in managing your anxiety–now and during the rest of the year.

16th December Tip:

Take 5 minutes to rest to avoid increased stress and anxiety levels. Looking after yourself this time of year is essential, with winter bugs, and the hectic to and fro. So even if it’s just for 5 minutes, allow yourself to have a rest.

15th December Tip:

Christmas is a very hectic time so make sure you are organised. Make yourself lists of all the people you need to buy for, all the food you need and places to go. Feeling prepared will definitely make the Christmas season easier to deal with. Try not to leave things to the last minute.

14th December Tip:

Deciding where to spend Christmas can be a decision fraught with guilt, anxiety and frustration. Ask yourself who you really want to spend Christmas with guilt, anxiety and frustration. Ask yourself who you really want to spend Christmas with. Imagine that no one would feel hurt or angry at your decision. Where would you feel truly accepted and at ease? Where would you enjoy yourself most? Where would you feel most valued? Wherever that is, is where you should be.

13th December Tip:

Lower your expectations. Whoever started the myth that Christmas must be “perfect” (the “perfect” tree, the “perfect” Christmas lunch, the “perfect” day without any bickering, etc.) certainly didn’t live in the real world! Don’t let Christmas get out of hand and takeover your life. Scale your celebrations down this year and take the pressure off yourself so you can simply enjoy the season.

12th December Tip:

Ask yourself “what you would say to your best friend?” What would you say to your best friend if they were feeling this way? Many people with anxiety are kind and sympathetic to others, but not to themselves – give yourself the same care and consideration that you would your best friend.

11th December Tip:

Be patient with yourself. Recovery isn”t always linear – some people get hung up on continually making progress but anxiety is sometimes two steps forward and one step back. Be realistic and reward yourself for any progress, no matter how small.

10th December Tip:

Ask for help and support if you need it. The saying ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ is true. If the stress and anxiety of the season is getting you down, get support on our helpline 08444 775 774 or email support@anxietyuk.org.uk. Both services are available Monday-Friday, 9:30-5:30. Outside of these hours, you can post your comments/experiences/difficulties on our website and often times another visitor will reply with advice or offer support.

9th December Tip:

I like listening to music videos on the internet. It always cheers me up!
Submitted by David on 7th December

8th December Tip:

Take care of yourself! Whether that is going for a massage, acupuncture or just taking a bubble bath. Do something that you enjoy. Don’t forget to look after yourself, particularly during this time of year.
Submitted by Safia, helpline volunteer

7th December Tip:

When I start to feel anxious or depressed this time of year, I like to think about Christmas when I was a child and how exciting that time of year was. Children have the luxury of not having all of the hassle and just get to enjoy Christmas for what it is. There’s nothing to say you can’t do the same as a grown up!!
Submitted by Maxine on 6th December

6th December Tip:

Count your blessings! Often when you sit down and think about what you have to be thankful for – a supportive family, good friends, a loving pet, healthy children – this can help to lift your mood. Sometimes a little bit of perspective can do the trick!

5th December Tip:

I always treat myself to something, it doesn”t have to cost a lot, it can just be something simple as long as it is something I can enjoy.
Submitted by Jo on 2nd December

4th December Tip:

Enjoy yourself! When you”re enjoying the moment you”re not worrying about the past or the future!
Submitted by Kenny on 1st December

3rd December Tip:

Help others! One thing which can raise your self esteem and give you a boost is the positive feeling you get when helping others.

There are plenty of opportunities to give back, especially during the Christmas period. Volunteer at a homeless shelter. Check in on an elderly neighbour or relative, have a cup of tea and a chat. Or sort through your wardrobe and donate any unneeded items to a worthy cause. The possibilities are endless and one thing is for sure: you’ll feel great for doing it!

2nd December Tip:

Let the snowfall bring out the child in you! Snow, especially in the amounts that parts of the country have received, can be daunting. If the anxiety of travelling in the weather is too much to bear, don’t let this make you feel like you are about to slip into another terrible bout of anxiety. Lots of people don’t like to travel in the snow as it can be quite scary. In fact, it’s common for people to be advised not to travel unless it is totally necessary.

So, embrace your inner child and get outside! Build a snowman, go sledging or have a snowball fight with a friend. The fresh air and sunshine (if you’re lucky enough to have some) will help to lift your mood. Find things to enjoy about the snow and recognise that it won’t last for very long so why not enjoy it!

1st December Tip:

Print a simple calendar. Take a moment early in the holiday season to write in all the events that are scheduled for December. Include school and church activities, pageants, parties, get-togethers andso on. Writing down all the events on one central calendar will help to prevent last-minute rushing around and the overscheduling that leads to holiday exhaustion.

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Comments ( 12 replies added)

  1. Kenny 1 December 2010 Reply

    Enjoy yourself! When you’re enjoying the moment you’re not worrying about the past or the future! 🙂

  2. Jo 2 December 2010 Reply

    I always treat myself to something, it doesn’t have to cost a lot, it can just be something simple as long as it is something I can enjoy.

  3. Maxine 6 December 2010 Reply

    When I start to feel anxious or depressed this time of year, I like to think about Christmas when I was a child and how exciting that time of year was. Children have the luxury of not having all of the hassle and just get to enjoy Christmas for what it is. There’s nothing to say you can’t do the same as a grown up!!

  4. David Hadley 7 December 2010 Reply

    I like listening to Music Videos on the internet, it always cheers me up!

  5. Sharon 8 December 2010 Reply

    What if you can’t afford to pamper yourself, have no money to pay the rent, buy food or gas and electric. What if you were just told that you don’t qualify for ESA because you didn’t score high enough when you have social phobia, anxiety and depression? What if the medication you’re on isn’t working and people who are supposed to help you seem dis-interested?
    What then?

    • territorevell 9 December 2010 Reply

      Hello and thanks for your comment. Anxiety UK understands times are very difficult for many people right now. If you feel like you need additional support, please get in touch with us. We are here to help so please don’t feel like you are alone. You can reach us on 08444 775 774 or by emailing support@anxietyuk.org.uk.

      In answer to your question, what we were suggesting was to find time for yourself, whether that be spending money on an activity or doing something in the privacy of your own home that doesn’t cost a penny. There are many ways you can treat yourself without having to spend money.

      -Anxiety UK

    • David Hadley 9 December 2010 Reply

      Hi Sharon,

      I have suffered with Agoraphobia for 6 years now and still do

      From my personal experience I find that the UK benefit system is not well developed for people with Anxiety.

      I am currently on DLA and ESA. I am battling the DWP about my ESA as they say im fit for work! Ok im fit for work but I cannot get there!!!

      I have found that when you appeal, the benefits are reinstated. This website has lots of useful information:
      http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/

      Also there is more information here:
      http://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/about-anxiety/support-with-your-benefits/

      David

  6. Julie 9 December 2010 Reply

    Christmas is not always an easy time for anyone, and for those of us who have issues with excessive worrying it can be a real mare.

    I find that the pressure of feeling I ‘ought’ to do things is much worse at the moment. So I’ve decided this year to stuff the oughts along with the turkey! For example I feel like I ought to post 10,000 Christmas cards (OK a bit of an exaggeration I don’t really have that many friends). My tip this year is to only post cards to people who I don’t communicate with at any other time of the year. The others will understand. I’ve written some more tips too, at http://generalisedanxietydisorder.wordpress.com/2010/12/09/5-tips-for-a-stress-free-christmas/

  7. Ian 14 December 2010 Reply

    Christmas can certainly seem as if it’s designed to increase stress and anxiety – too crowded, too noisy, too expensive, too high a burden of expectation, and so on. This is a shame, because it can be a “still point” in the year, a little psychological resting place where you can recharge your batteries in the depth of winter. So, attend to the basics – plenty of sleep and rest, eat well and take a little exercise if you can. A very useful way of bringing down anxiety is through your breathing. Basically, if you breathe out for longer than you breathe in, you activate the parasympathetic nervous system – the body’s natural relaxation mechanism. Try breathing in to a count of 5 and out to a count of 9, but the exact count doesn’t matter, just as long as you make sure you exhale for longer than you inhale. People have submitted some good tips here, and the main message is – be kind to yourself!

  8. Julie 18 December 2010 Reply

    My tip – that I’m trying to follow myself – is to remember that Christmas will be all over in a few days time, and this bout of anxiety will pass too, like all the other ones did.

    Today it is snowing heavily and all the plans I had for Christmas preparations have had to be shelved. Added to this my small child has taken a preference to the old not-very-nice decorations and my husband has made a hash of the rest! But actually it really doesn’t matter. They are having a lovely time and I can have a cup of camomile (doing my best to relax) and let it all go. Hope you can too

    Best wishes J

  9. Abigail Fletcher 20 December 2010 Reply

    My tip – use the time to get some sleep, I always feel a lot better when I have slept well, don’t feel guilty for taking some ‘me’ time at the end of the day everyone else will benefit too.

  10. Carol 20 December 2010 Reply

    Music is a fantastic way to lift your spirits if you are feeling overwhelmed by Christmas and all that it brings. The radio stations are playing lots of joyful Christmas tunes and even the most tiresome of Christmas chores seem more enjoyable with some Christmas music playing in the background.

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