Psychiatrist tells how to cope with extra family time at Christmas

Font Size:

There is so much that is great about the Christmas period – tinsel, mince pies, mulled wine, need we go on? – but it can also come with its difficulties.

For many of us, the holidays are when we spend more solid time with family than at any other time of the year. While family time is a wonderful thing, it can be trying – particularly as you’re spending quite a lot of intensive time together.

Psychiatrist and clinical director Pablo Vandenabeele shared his top tips on how to survive all that family time, so you really can keep this time of year merry.

1. Have patience
“Spending time with loved ones is great. However, it’s common to find we get annoyed with those we care about. Although keeping quiet may help to keep the peace, avoiding the issue can have a negative impact on your stress levels.

“There are ways to express a difference of opinion on politics or the right way to carve the turkey, without it developing into an argument. For example, avoid responding in the heat of the moment so that a minor disagreement doesn’t escalate.”

2. Know your limits
“Many of us try to commit to festive celebrations with family members that span the country. It’s important to recognise your limits so you don’t create additional pressure and cause anxiety and mental and physical burnout over Christmas.

“Although it is tempting to agree to be at every family gathering, ensuring you take a break from rushing around will help you to recharge your batteries and enjoy the festive period.”

3. Drink responsibly
“While you might think a drink will alleviate the stress of being surrounded by all your extended family, alcohol is a depressant, so it can actually make you feel worse. If you need to de-stress, a brisk walk can help both your mind and body.”

4. It doesn’t have to be perfect
“Christmas can often be one of the few occasions extended families spend time together, so many of us feel pressured to create the ‘perfect day’. However, it’s important not to be hard on yourself if your presents don’t look like they’ve been professionally gift-wrapped, or the turkey is dry.

“Remember, hosting Christmas isn’t about delivering a five-star service. Enjoy spending time with those you care about.”

5. Financial woes
“When you start to add up the cost of the festive season it can come to a small fortune.

“If the idea of buying presents for all your family is too much, try something like a secret Santa approach. It is also a good game that brings the family together.”

6. Make time for exercise
“The Christmas period is a time for indulgence, and exercise plans often fall by the wayside, particularly if it’s cold. However, exercise is a great way to reduce stress as it burns off hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline.

“A post-Christmas dinner walk with the family helps to shift the ‘cabin fever’ feel. It gives the whole family a chance to stretch their legs and can help improve everyone’s mood.”

What are your Christmas day traditions?

– With PA

If you enjoy our content, don’t keep it to yourself. Share our free eNews with your friends and encourage them to sign up.

Join YourLifeChoices today
and get this free eBook!

Join
By joining YourLifeChoices you consent that you have read and agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy

RELATED LINKS

Making a phone call is good for your mental health

Psychologists tell why you should skip the texting and make a phone call.

Here's how the festive period can affect your sleep

It's (supposedly) the most wonderful time of the year, so why can't you sleep?

Can mental health apps change your life?

Mental health apps can help you cope during stressful and gloomy times.

0 Comments

Total Comments: 0

    FACEBOOK COMMENTS



    SPONSORED LINKS

    continue reading

    Finance

    Tobacco and childcare drive cost of living increase

    The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.9 per cent in the December quarter. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics...

    Age Pension

    Retirement system ‘uncertain for almost all retirees’

    Australia, a nation of almost four million retirees, has one of the world's best retirement systems. The 2020 Mercer CFA...

    Finance

    The big question: How much do I need to retire?

    Life expectancies continue to rise, and with that comes a host of challenges. For governments, there's the increasing cost to...

    Finance

    Understanding the true cost of retirement

    The Australian government spends billions on boosting retirement incomes. The two biggest costs, the Age Pension and superannuation tax concessions,...

    Age Pension

    Adequacy of retiree nest eggs

    YourLifeChoices conducts several surveys each year to gauge the financial, physical and mental health of our 260,000 members. The aim...

    Age Pension

    Age Pension payments in 2021 – what you need to know

    World heavyweight boxing champion, Olympian, ordained minister and successful entrepreneur George Foreman returned to the ring at the age of...

    Age Pension

    Services and rebates that can save you hundreds

    Last year, I put together a retiree checklist. In 2021, there are some additions. This is a long list and...

    Age Pension

    Pension rates, PBS entitlements, health fund changes

    YourLifeChoices keeps you up to date with retirement income changes. PBS co-paymentsThe maximum co-payment for general patients for drugs listed...

    LOADING MORE ARTICLE...