Managing the stresses of Christmas

11 December 2019

Christmas, 'It's the most wonderful time of the year' however, it can also be one of the most stressful and challenging times.

Barbara Hart, Consultant Psychotherapist explains: 'whether it's lack of time and money or the pressures of finding the 'perfect' gift and entertaining the family. There's a range of reasons why people can feel overwhelmed this time of year'. 

Barbara's top tips for dealing with the stresses of Christmas. 

  • Take a deep breath - when we’re stressed our heart beat increases and our breathing becomes more shallow
  • Know when to stop - decide when to stop your Christmas preparations and start to relax and enjoy the time. Christmas is your holiday too!
  • Manage your expectations and try to be realistic - no event ever runs perfectly and this is so true also for Christmas celebrations. When things don’t necessarily go to plan, shift your mindset into seeing them as creating fond memories that you can look back on in years to come with some humor and fun
  • Take some time out - it's OK to enlist help from others. Let others help and give yourself some time to rest or have some quiet time
  • Try to not overindulge - be mindful that stress raises our appetite and cravings for sugary and fatty foods and excessive alcohol can also increase stress hormone cortisol 
  • Be mindful of the food that you are eating - be “treat-wise”, enjoy seasonal treats but try to control portion sizes
  • Go for a walk - this could be the antidote for Christmas stress. Research shows that physical activity reorganises the brain and reduces stress

Mrs Barbara Hart is a Consultant Senior Accredited Psychotherapist practising at Spire Portsmouth Hospital. You can find out more about her here.


The content of this article is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the professional medical advice of your doctor or other health care professional.

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