Christmas is traditionally a time of celebration, eating, drinking, spending time with family and friends, and generally enjoying the festive spirit. However, because 48% of the UK adults are already suffering from anxiety, the festive season can be an especially difficult time.
Whether it’s the financial strain that accompanies gift buying, the cold and dark winter nights, or the reality of spending Christmas alone, there can be a number of triggers for mental health problems during the holiday season.
It’s important to recognise that if you’re struggling during the Christmas period, you are far from alone. Mental health issues at Christmas affect more of us than you might think. A survey from YouGov found that a quarter of people say that Christmas makes their mental health worse, while a survey from Mental Health UK found that 31% of people suffer from sleepless nights as a result of overwhelm, worry, and anxiety.
Anxiety UK CEO Nicky Lidbetter comments: “Anxiety is extremely common this time of year and, at its worst, can be incredibly disabling. It is therefore important that those living with anxiety seek early help and that treatment interventions offered are acceptable and accessible.”
“Psychological symptoms of anxiety include worry, spinning thoughts, and insomnia due to a racing mind. Anxiety can also affect the body, causing issues such as a racing heartbeat, nausea, headaches, and muscle tension. These symptoms can feel very distressing, particularly over the festive period.”
We see people piling pressure on themselves around the festive period in lots of ways, such as meeting up with family and friends and spending money, which can affect our mental health. Not to mention, the pandemic has clearly had a significant impact on our wellbeing, and long-term uncertainty can compound these pressures, fuelling feelings of stress and anxiety in the run-up to Christmas. However, there are ways we can each support our wellbeing through the winter and places we can get support.
Here are five simple but effective solutions to help you cope so that we can all have a very merry Christmas:
1. Focus on the positives
Avoid dwelling on what you cannot control and focus on the things you can. If you’re feeling anxious, taking stock of what you’re grateful for might not be the first thing that comes to mind. Research shows that keeping a gratitude journal can help improve your mental health.
2. Plan ahead
Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, connecting with friends, and other activities. Consider whether you can shop online for any of your items. Plan your menus, and then make your shopping list. That’ll help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients. And make sure to line up help for meal prep and clean-up.
3. Try a traditional herbal remedy, such as kalms lavender
Lavender oil has a long-standing association with relieving symptoms of mild anxiety. Over 15 clinical trials have shown that a daily capsule of uniquely prepared lavender oil, found only in Kalms Lavender can relieve the symptoms of anxiety in just one to two weeks. Benefits are comparable to commonly used anti-anxiety medications without problems such as sedation, addiction, or interaction with other medications.
4. Don’t abandon healthy habits; let the holidays become a free-for-all
Overindulgence only adds to your anxiety and guilt. Make efforts to eat well, exercise, and get enough sleep. Remind yourself that it might take time for the situation to resolve, and be patient with yourself in the meantime.
5. Take time to talk
Sharing your worries with a trusted family member or friend can make them seem less daunting and help you realise you’re not alone. If you cannot speak to someone you know, or if doing so has not helped, there are plenty of helplines you can try instead. Anxiety UK offers support, advice, and information on a range of anxiety, stress, and anxiety-based depression conditions. For assistance today, call their helpline at 03444 775 774.