Christmas is a time of celebration with family and friends but the silly season can also create feelings of immense stress and loneliness for some.
Occupational therapist Shelley Southgate works for mental wellbeing service Support Stream, helping Aucklanders combat loneliness and stress during the holidays. She recommends a good starting point is to identify what makes Christmas special for you including finding comfort in the small things.
Here are her top ten tips to help manage stress and loneliness during the Christmas period:
- Plan ahead, by starting your Christmas purchases now to avoid stressful situations with crowded, hectic malls and supermarkets.
- Don’t over commit yourself and don’t be afraid to say no – try to keep it simple and relaxed on Christmas Day.
- Make sure you have time out for yourself to do things that help you feel relaxed.
- Think about who you would like to spend time with over Christmas, and give them a call to arrange it.
- If you don’t have anyone to spend Christmas with, reach out to your local community to be involved in community/neighbourhood events.
- Look after yourself leading up to Christmas by eating nutritious foods, getting to bed early and including exercise in your day.
- If you have no plans for Christmas, volunteer at a local charity to connect with others, bringing joy to those less fortunate.
- Host an ‘Orphans Christmas’ inviting others who will be alone on Christmas.
- If you experience anxiety during the Christmas period, reach out to a health care professional who can support you.
- Remember that Christmas is meant to be for everyone to enjoy, don’t forget to treat yourself!
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