As the Christmas holiday rapidly approaches, so too can a range of different causes of stress. For some of us, it may be the threat of looming work deadlines, with not enough hours in the day. For others, it may be the soaring costs of gifts, with a dwindling bank balance. And for others still, divorce, loss and complex family dynamics can mean that at times which are meant to be filled with loving reunions, it can also be opportunities for arguments and conflict.
Many of these situations that understandably cause us a level of stress and worry, can – perhaps surprisingly – be managed in a fairly similar ways.
One of the first helpful approaches we can take to take the stress out of Christmas, is to reflect upon, what it is that is our priority. Is it to ensure than a project deadline is met? Or that a family lunch succeeds without clashes? In a time when there are often a range of competing priorities, trying to see what it is that we actually want, and working out what aligns with our own values, can be a big help in figuring out where to place our energy and focus.
Secondly, trying to identify what is causing the stress can be helpful. Sometimes it can seem as though everything is ‘one big stress’, but spending the time trying to unpick what is actually causing the worry can be a great help in starting to address and overcome it. At times it will be obvious, while in other instances it may be something that we need to dig a bit deeper to find. Are our concerns around money and gifts tied to something that is more linked with our feelings of success or failure, or does it remind us of areas of our past?
And thirdly, setting up a plan or making a list can help. Whether this is a financial plan, a budget to stick to, or a seating plan to try to help minimise awkward conversations at a lunch, an element of planning can help the outcome, as well as help us to feel more in control of the situation.
While some of our emotions around these situations cannot be easily identified, speaking with a healthcare professional, such as the team at Cognacity, can help. Talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy can help us to see the links between what we think, do and feel. Through increasing our understanding of this, we can start to make choices that may help us to not only feel less worried or stressed, but also to increase our chances of having the outcomes that we hope for.