Anxiety UK – tips for coping at Christmas

We know many people can feel anxious over the Christmas period and become especially anxious about social gatherings during the festive period; it’s quite common. People who experience anxiety and particularly social anxiety can feel pressure to attend the various social engagements and commitments that Christmas brings. This can lead to increased feelings of anxiety.

The additional financial implications of Christmas can also cause a great deal of anxiety, with presents to buy, new outfits for different social events and festive ‘essentials’ such as wrapping paper and tree decorations.

Not everyone has family and friends to spend the holiday with and those with anxious thoughts that are triggered by family conflicts or even the loss of a loved one, can feel isolated and as a result, more anxious.

Here are a few tips on how you can get through this difficult time and where you can get help if needed. You can also download our free guide to coping at Christmas here.

If you want to speak to someone quickly and from the comfort of your own home you can book an appointment with an Anxiety UK Approved Therapist via our award winning Digital Online Therapy Service here 

1 – Don’t Over Indulge

As tempted as we all get to “treat ourselves” over the festive period, it is important to remember the impact that food can have on our mood. Too much sugar and caffeine can cause us to peak and crash and often impacts on our emotions.

Plate of freshly baked Christmas mince pies with one broken open to display the rich fruity filling

2- Drink Responsibly

Many people say that alcohol helps to relax their anxiety however, drinking too much and the following hangover can often lead us to feel worse. Know your limits and stay safe. Keep hydrated by drinking water and other non-alcoholic beverages.

3 – Keep Active

We can still go for a walk or maintain our exercise regimen during the festivities. Many gyms offer 24 hours access which means that we don’t need to miss out. ParkRun also have a lot of 5k runs organised for Christmas day, you can find details here

4 – Distraction

If things do feel like they are getting too much, remember your distraction techniques.Calm Keys are 

calm-keys1available from the Anxiety UK website with accessible useful tips and advice on breathing, relaxation and distraction techniques on a handy keyring.

5 – Move at your own pace

Don’t feel pressured to get caught up in the whirlwind and rush of Christmas. Our reality of Christmas isn’t what we see on TV and social media and that is ok!

6 – Make time for yourself

Watch your favourite film, read a book, listen to music. Be sure to practice some self-preservation and be kind to yourself. Spend at least one day in your pyjamas and relax!

7 – Have a plan for the party season

If you are heading out to a party or night out, be sure to have a plan in place for if your anxiety does peak. Speak to a friend ahead of your festive plans and discuss the best methods to help you if you enter a panic. This means that you have a trusted person who is equipped to help you cope and make you feel safe.

8 – Mindfulness

10 minutes of Mindfulness practice each day could help to keep you grounded, calm and relaxed. Headspace offers sessions on stress, anxiety, depression and SOS sessions perfect for panic. You can get a one year’s free subscription to Headspace through Anxiety UK membership packages

9 – Know where you can turn to for support

Anxiety UK is open for the majority of the Christmas season at our usual hours. You can find our opening times here:

10 – Rest.

Be sure to get plenty of sleep and rest during Christmas. Feeling tired can lead to us feeling less able to cope. Grab yourself an early night or a nice lie in.

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