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Strategies to help you cope with festive anxiety

The festive period is often synonymous with joy and celebration, yet for some, it brings about increased stress and anxiety.

Here's a guide to managing anxiety during the Christmas season, with practical tips for a more balanced and enjoyable experience.

If you need more help managing anxiety generally, hypnotherapy can help.

1. Acknowledge any anxiety:

Begin by recognising and acknowledging any feelings of anxiety. Understand that the additional stressors associated with the period may require extra self-compassion. Be proud of yourself for your efforts, be mindful of the challenges, and make self-care a priority for the next few weeks.

2. Manage unrealistic expectations:

The festive season often introduces unrealistic expectations, both internal and external. Resist any perceived pressure to create a 'perfect' Christmas by setting realistic expectations. Remember, not everything is as flawless as some may make it appear on social media.

3. Essentials over excess:

Distinguish between vital elements and optional parts of your festive plans. Make sure you prioritise those activities and traditions that hold real significant value. Recognise that the true meaning of the season is in meaningful connections, not material excess.

4. Socialise mindfully:

Pick and choose social activities and events that contribute positively to your mental well-being. Prioritise quality interactions over quantity and feel empowered to skip events that induce anxiety. Your emotional well-being takes precedence.

5. Plan some down time:

Allocate additional time for purposeful self-care before and after demanding events. During the hustle and bustle of the festivities, carve out moments for quiet reflection. Perhaps incorporate meditation or breathing exercises, even if just for 15 minutes a day, to promote relaxation.

6. Write down your worries:

If prone to overthinking, document your concerns using simple Cognitive Behavioural Therapy techniques. Rate your worries on likelihood and identify areas of catastrophising. Journaling or discussing these concerns with a friend provides valuable perspective and a tangible release.

7. Focus on 'small' wins:

Break overwhelming challenges into manageable parts. Address specific stressors with focused actions, this builds a sense of greater control and confidence. Celebrate small achievements, such as wrapping one present rather feeling bad about not having wrapped them all yet and build momentum from there. You will get there – and does it really matter if you don’t get everything done.

8. Back to basics:

Focus on fundamental aspects of your well-being—healthy nutrition, sufficient sleep, and regular exercise. Maintain these important elements, that are all too often neglected during the festive period. This will significantly contribute to anxiety management. Yes, it is a time of indulgence and excess – but a bit of moderation could really help and will allow you to enjoy more of the time.

9. Realistic scheduling:

Ensure your schedule aligns with your mental health needs. Prioritise self-care, communicate openly, and make decisions supporting your well-being. Recognise the power of saying no. Seek support if required during this demanding time. Don’t overdo it and burn yourself out.

10. Embrace adaptive beliefs:

Take some time and evaluate and modify beliefs contributing to your heightened anxiety. Challenge notions of perfection and the need to enjoy every moment. Embrace the perspectives supporting your well-being, acknowledging that the season will have both its ups and downs and that is OK.

As the festive period approaches, these tips aim to empower you in effectively managing anxiety.


Get in touch to learn more about hypnotherapy and how it can help you with with stress and anxiety.

Malcolm Struthers Hypnotherapy - Dumfries & Galloway and online


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