Combating Christmas Stress

December 24, 2021

Combating Christmas Stress

It may be the season to be jolly but, according to government statistics, it’s also the season to be stressed.  A shocking two in five adults report feeling stressed in December and an even more shocking half of women say so in particular.  Obviously, this isn’t good for mental health and the impact seems to be worse for middle-aged people with around a third of people between 45 and 55 saying their mental health is noticeably worse around Christmas.  Sadly, with everything that is going on at the moment with the uncertainty around the new strain of Covid, this is likely to be even worse this year.  Naturally, we don’t like this one bit so want to do what we can to help people avoid a nasty mental health slump at Christmas.

Don’t Neglect the Exercise

Yes, we know that this is the time of year for drinking booze and eating too much.  We absolutely all do that and, although this isn’t great for mental health, it’s pretty much inevitable and everyone does it so we shan’t be unrealistic about it.  People also let the exercise regime slide because it’s cold, dark and miserable outside, they’re very busy getting things done and generally aren’t in the mood.  This is a mistake as far as mental health is concerned.  It’s very important to make time to exercise as exercise is great for reducing stress hormones in your body and aiding sleep.  Getting some daylight while you can is a good idea too so outside exercise, weather permitting, during the day is ideal.

Be Very Strict about Time to Yourself

Trying to get work finished before the Christmas break, Christmas shopping, chores, preparing for visiting relatives and all that stuff means people feel like they have no time for themselves in December.  This is very stressful and can severely impact mental health.  Remember that you can’t look after others if you aren’t functioning properly yourself.  Be very strict about carving time out for yourself or you risk stress getting the better of you.  Exercise is, actually, a good way of taking time to yourself because sad as it sounds, it’s something we can ‘justify’ taking time to do away from chores, work and other people’s demands.  When we’re putting ourselves under massive pressure to be productive at this busy time of year, it’s a lot easier to feel good about taking time to go to an exercise class than it is to sit and watch an episode of your favourite Netflix programme.

Take Short but Effective Brain Breaks

A really effective way to relax your mind without taking a lot of time out of your day is through meditation.  There are some great meditation apps (some good recommendations here) you can get on your phone or videos you can access on YouTube that don’t involve any type of Buddhist teaching or anything that some people might see as ‘mystic’ or a bit weird.  Some guided meditation is literally just a few minutes of allowing your mind a break from racing thoughts and worrying about things you need to do.  Even very short periods of meditation can have a big impact on stress if you do them regularly.

It is such a shame that what should be a joyful time of the year gets blighted by stress so often but particularly this year.  The above measures can help relieve it a bit and improve mental health but if it does get too much, don’t hesitate to seek appropriate professional help.  If you would like any advice on exercise or meditation to help relieve stress and improve mental health or would like Rob’s help in starting a new exercise regime, please give us a call on 01273 610609 or email


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