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Advice On Understanding Your Anxiety Around Holiday Stress.

The Holidays can bring so much joy and excitement that in the midst of all that’s going on, it can be easy for the stress and anxiety to be overshadowed. The holidays can bring us stress from hosting the perfect Christmas for the whole family, everyone’s expectations from food and decorations to presents, or simply all the chaos at work. It can remind us of people we used to spend Christmas with but no longer can because they are no longer with us or we are no longer in contact with them. Not to mention the pressure we might put on ourselves to make everything just as good as the previous Christmas because we want everyone to have a good one. These all seem like common things to worry about during the holiday season, but it may stir up a lot more than you think, going from stress to anxiety. Because Christmas is supposedly such a happy, joyful and loving holiday, it is exactly why you shouldn’t ignore any signs of anxiety surrounding it and should definitely find healthy ways to cope with the stress it brings.

This calls for a moment of reflection!

This is a good time to sit and reflect on previous Christmases. Maybe in the middle of so many who are excited for Christmas, you’re leaning more towards being a Grinch. In the movie The Grinch (2018), the Grinch has a flashback where he is alone in an orphanage during the Christmas holidays with no one to celebrate with and no gifts, lights, or decorations. In the end scene, he gives a speech, sharing that he now realises that it’s not Christmas he really hated all these years; it was being alone. In the earlier version of ‘The Grinch,’ ‘How the Grinch stole Christmas’ we discover that the Grinch actually used to like Christmas, but a bad and embarrassing experience led him to believe that everyone was greedy and materialistic and he then decided that he hated Christmas. My point is that the Grinch had really strong and negative feelings towards Christmas because he was unaware that those thoughts were actually the result of a painful or unpleasant experience that he never fully recovered from. Christmas reminded him of a difficult period in his life, and this event altered his outlook on people and their intentions around the holidays. As a result, he withdrew and focused his resentment on a holiday he used to like, hurting himself even more in the long run.

Check-in

Memories and experiences can be wonderful, but can also have a big impact on things that are important to us or get a big deal made out of. Perhaps they are the reason why we love Christmas because we have so many wonderful memories. However, they might also be the reason we get anxious around Christmas because we know from the previous ones that it’s a stressful time where maybe “all the responsibility of everyone’s happiness and having a good
time lies heavily on my shoulders and it’s too much to handle,” or “It’s our first Christmas without nana’ or maybe “I feel a little anxious because all fourteen cousins, five aunts and three uncles are coming and it’s all a bit too much.” Whatever it might be for you, check in with yourself. What’s going through your head, how are you feeling, and how do you truly feel about Christmas? Remember, you are bombarded with everything Christmas for weeks before actual Christmas day, so not checking in could mean you feel constantly irritated, annoyed or a little nostalgic around that time, and you’re simply left thinking that you’re just not a fan of Christmas.

Why is this important?

This is important because anxiety often stems from such small things that if sorted, talked through or processed differently, the anxiety could have been avoided or worked through a lot sooner rather than that feeling you still carry around with you. Furthermore, the first step to coping with anything is to become aware of how it makes you feel and how it affects you. By checking in, you express your awareness of what’s affecting or potentially upsetting you. Perhaps there’s a solution like setting boundaries or asking your family to take some of the load for the Christmas preparations, or perhaps you can discuss it with a loved one or friend who can relate, which could make you feel lighter. However, this won’t always be the case, and there may have been painful or difficult-to-talk-about incidents in the past. In these situations, we would be happy to connect you with a therapist at My Solution Wellbeing who can offer mental health support towards processing this and assist you with stress management strategies you can use moving forward. Why not speak to our qualified and supportive therapy team for professional help with anxiety?

By Eva Domingos, a counsellor at My Solution Well-being. 

Nottingham@mysolutionwellbeing.com T: 0115 648 7912

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By MSWB Team on 18/12/2023 in Wellbeing

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