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Despite being known as “the most wonderful time of the year” Christmas can often be a time filled with loneliness, sadness and negativity for many. It can be especially stressful if you live with a mental health disorder.
 
 
Many of us, rightly so, look forward to Christmas. However, the constant pressures surrounding festivities with family and friends can cause feelings of isolation and loneliness for others. Difficult relationships with loved ones, pressures to perform or be present or even feelings of obligation can cause unexpected stress.
 
 
There’s pressure to socialise with family and friends (a difficult thing for a lot of people but twice as hard for people struggling with mental illness), pressures to please people and the temptation to overindulge on food and drink.
 
 
Whilst on the surface these can seem like fun things, the pressure to conform to the standards which many see as “the perfect Christmas” can cause stress and anxiety. These can manifest into feelings of sadness, depression and feelings of inadequacy. 
 
 
When stress is at its peak, it can be hard to stop and take stock of everything that’s happening. Here are some handy tips to help prevent stress and depression from taking hold and ruining your Christmas:

 

Acknowledge your feelings

It’s okay to be tired or stressed out. Take the time to express your feelings, have a cry if you want to and don’t feel forced into feeling happy just because its holiday season.
 

Reach out

Speaking to someone, whether that be family, friends or a support group is a great way to lift your spirits in times of need
 

Be realistic

Just because its Christmas doesn’t mean everything has to be perfect. As times change so do traditions and rituals.
 

Stick to a budget

Before going mad with your credit card, having a budget in place can bring a bit of structure and clarity to your planning and reduce stress in the long run.
 

Plan ahead

Again, a bit of thoughtful planning can bring about a sense of calm and inner peace in the midst of all that Christmas season chaos. 

 
 
 
At a time which is already laden with stress and societal pressures, additional demands on one another can tip someone over the edge. It’s important to remember that you’re doing the best you can and that everything need not be perfect.
 
 
Always remember that regardless of the time of year, you need to do what’s best for you and not let yourself suffer for the sake of others.
 

 
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