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  • Tamara Cavenett

Top tips for surviving Christmas

Christmas is supposed to be a joyful time of family, love and celebration, but for many it is a time of stress, loneliness and disappointment. Here are some steps you can take to reduce anxiety during the holidays.

Tips to prevent holiday stress and depression

  1. Meal plan. Plan your menu and make a shopping list. Ask everyone to bring a plate of food.

  2. It’s ok to be upset. Take the time to acknowledge your feelings. If you’ve lost someone recently or can’t be with those you love, it’s okay to feel sadness, grief, guilt or disappointment.

  3. Lower your expectations. No celebration is perfect. Families, traditions and rituals all change and grow. Try and see the inevitable errors and changes as opportunities to practice flexibility and resilience.

  4. Take time for yourself. Remember you are doing the best you can in a difficult time. Take 15minutes alone to recharge, sometimes self-care is the best thing you can do for yourself. Go somewhere quiet, clear your mind, slow your breath and take time out.

  5. Set aside differences. Avoid triggers, and topics known to cause conflict, drink in moderation, and set aside differences. Try and accept family members as they are and limit time with difficult family members.

  6. Say ‘no’. Everyone knows Christmas is a busy time of year, people will understand if you can’t participate in all activities.

  7. Seek support. If separated stay in touch with family and friends online or by phone. If you feel lonely, seek out community, religious or other social events. Volunteer your time.

  8. Budget and stick to it. Plan before you go, and consider alternatives to traditional gifts (i.e. donations to charity, homemade gifts and or Secret Santa’s).

  9. Stay healthy. To help yourself cope with the extra stress get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly, eat well and make time for relaxing activities.

Image courtesy of Pansa at

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