Tips on Managing Stress, Depression and the Festive Season.

Published: 15 Dec 2017

Christmas is a time that can stir up a lot of emotion and stress. Here are a few tips that can help.


For a lot of workers, Christmas and school holidays can be quite a stressful time of year. The added pressure to be happy and joyful just because its Christmas, can sometimes make things worse when you, your family or another workmate is doing it tough.


Being aware of what you are feeling, or recognising that things might not be as easy for your workmate will go a long way in helping to head-off unpleasant experiences and events.


Forget Perfection:

Christmas after all is just another day. The stress of trying to make it ‘perfect’ is sometimes the very thing that pushes everyone’s buttons.


Learn to Say NO:

Keep it simple and plan just a couple of things to do. It’s Ok to say “no” and make other choices. Spreading visits out so they are not all packed into the 1 day may also help.


Avoid Family Conflict:

Stay long enough to be friendly and considerate, but try and leave before the conflict starts. If conflict does start, have some neutral response ready, like “I can see how you would feel like that”, “Sorry to hear you feel like that” & “Let’s talk about it another time”. Then escape.


Be realistic:

The holidays don't have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if you’re adult children can't come to your house, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videos.


Stick to your Budget:

Set a budget for how much you can afford to spend, engage the family into doing a “Secret Santa”, or agree to only buy for the children. Let people know in advance what your limits are.


Limit Alcohol:

Christmas and alcohol are not always a good mix. Drink plenty of water, choose low-strength alcohol, limit how much you drink and who you are drinking with (their behavior).


Do something good for others:

Plan some activities with a mate who may also appreciate some company. Taking the focus off ourselves and onto those who are doing it tougher than us can make us more grateful for what we do have.


Plan Ahead:

some thought into what you will do and who with. Last minute plans may lead to some poor choices. If you don’t have anyone you can spend time with, be especially kind to yourself. Do something that you really enjoy, exercise to release your “feel good” endorphins and distract yourself with some good movies, fishing, music, or a book.


If You Are Grieving:

Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently died or you can't be with loved ones, realise that it's normal to feel sadness and grief. It's OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can't force yourself to be happy just because it's the holiday season.


Reach out:

If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship. Volunteering your time to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships.


Don't abandon healthy habits:

Don't let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt. Try these suggestions:

  • Have a healthy snack before holiday parties so that you don't go overboard on sweets, cheese or drinks.

  • Get plenty of sleep.

  • Incorporate regular physical activity into each day.


    Take a breather:

    Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm. Some options may include:

  • Taking a walk at night and stargazing.

  • Listening to soothing music.

  • Getting a massage.

  • Reading a book.


Take control of the holidays:

Don't let the Christmas and New Year season become something you dread. Instead, take steps to prevent the stress and depression that can descend during the holidays. Learn to recognise your holiday triggers, such as financial pressures or personal demands, so you can combat them before they lead to a meltdown. With a little planning and some positive thinking, you can find peace and joy during the holidays.


Remember your family and mates care about you no matter what you may think at times and believe it or not they will be the ones who jump in and help if only you would talk to them about your problems. How many times have you heard people say, we never even knew he or she was suffering? Be brave, talk about your problems it may well be the best Xmas present you ever got.


Your MATES are here to help at Christmas



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