Coping with the Christmas countdown

Everyone thinks that Christmas Day is the time you can feel stressed, depressed or lonely, but for many people the lead up to Christmas can be just as overwhelming.

For a lot of people that means sorting out your plans, who is coming and who isn’t, organise food, buy presents and put up the decorations.  These are just the basic, most common stressors. We know that for many people, there is a raft of other, often more complex issues, at play.

Now that the countdown to Christmas has officially begun, here are just a few tips for keeping your mental wellbeing in check:

Stay healthy - eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep can help you cope with Christmas stress.  Remember, overindulging in food and alcohol often adds to your stress and guilt.

Plan – Make sure you do up a budget and stick to it.  Don’t overspend. Work out your shopping list and get it done early to avoid the crowds and the risk of making last-minute, over expensive purchases!

Be creative – if your money is not stretching as far as you’d like with the rising cost of living, then look at how you can do things differently.  Consider a simpler version of Christmas lunch – perhaps a BBQ or picnic and ask guests to bring a plate.  Get crafty and make some presents or give the gift of your time – maybe a voucher to do some dog walking or gardening – there’s always something you can do that others need!

Connect - If you’re separated from your family and friends by distance, make sure you stay in touch with them online or by phone.  If you are on your own, there are ways to connect with others such as volunteering or attending local community events such as Carols by Candlelight.   
Be realistic – Christmas doesn’t have to be perfect or the same as other years.  Situations and families change….children grow up, relatives pass away, some parents may divorce.  Nothing stays the same forever.  Just make sure that you acknowledge and appreciate any feelings of loss or disappointment you may have and realise that its normal to feel that way.

Chill out – Amongst all the Christmas parties, planning and shopping, it is important that you stop and take some time for yourself.  Go for a walk, listen to some music, take a long bath or read a book.  Even if its just for 15 minutes at a time, it can make the world of difference.

If you feel like it is all getting on top of you, remember its okay to reach out and get some help.  Talking to someone can be great to put things into perspective and White Cloud’s team of mental health professionals can arm you with some good strategies to help you get back on track and cope with all the Christmas commotion.  

All you need to do is call White Cloud Tele-Mental Health on 07 3155 3456 during business hours to get an appointment as soon as possible.  You don’t need a GP referral or Mental Health Plan, you can access it from wherever you live and, best of all, its free.