Why this time of the year can be anything but merry.
By Zeenat Noorani – Resilience Wellbeing Coach, NLP Practitioner & Mental Health First Aider
How worried or stressed are you about Christmas this year?
Are you feeling overwhelmed and concerned with: the thought of being alone; having the pressures of gift buying; dealing with family stress; coping with debt or having a rocky relationship?
Christmas is a time of joy, happiness, traditions, and celebrations, however for some this is a completely different picture. In fact, it can be the most stressful or unhappiest time of the year.
Christmas is not so simple as it was 30/40 years ago when people actually enjoyed the days of preparation, buying gifts, celebrations of gathering with friends and family coming up to this special day. For many, who I have spoken to, the Christmas season causes nothing but stress, anxiety, and falling out with friends and family. The true spirit of Xmas is being lost.
During this time of the year, there is a huge increase in people falling into debt or even deeper debt, rising concerns with people suffering from mental health, suicide rates increasing as the feeling isolation from families, social circles, or partners… all this simply because the society we now live in has become very much self-centered, materialistic and social marketing has a huge part to play in this. The constant advertising and pressures of must-haves, cause mental pressures and debt. Where in the true meaning of Christmas does it ever imply this!
According to an article by Robert A Kloner “The Merry Christmas Coronary” and “Happy New Year Heart Attack” he talks about how studies show that Christmas can lead to server health concerns. A good read.
Kindness, love, giving, appreciation for what one has, seems to be vanquishing. All these intangible things cost nothing. Caring through being, listening, helping out, making time for people, spending time with people, saying kind words- is far more valuable to life. Take a moment to think about someone else other than yourself and make a positive impact. You may just positively change or even save their life…
Gifts, Gifts, Gifts – What to buy???
What is all the stress about? The biggest gift you can give is love and a hug! Why stress out on who you need to buy for, what you need to buy, and how much to spend? Again, only buy for those necessary. No need to impress others and match their gifts. Be happy with what you get them because a lot of thought has gone into it. The solution, get a list of possible gift ideas with a set budget or even more simple but fun, why not just do a ‘Secret Santa?’ Why let yourself burn out for gifts, which in the end ruins your own mental health and could lead to you breaking your bank balance.
Financial Debt Stress-out!
I’ve been here myself! One of the biggest worries at this time of the year.
Why, why, why get into debt over just a few weeks when you have a whole year ahead of you with much more prioritising importance. According to an article posted by the Independent last year 2017:-
‘Nearly six in ten households say they make sacrifices to buy Christmas presents and of those with children 31 percent are relying on credit to fund their purchases.
‘One in five say are they are likely to increase spending on their credit card as a result while 14 percent take out an unsecured or payday loan’.
‘On average Brits anticipate spending £342 on Christmas presents this year with £303 going on credit cards.
This is a huge concern and even greater this year due to the drastic government changes. Trying to overspend on fancy food, decorations, and expensive gifts just to impress and compete with others, is purely foolish! You shouldn’t feel that you are being judged by others. Why spend what you don’t have? Spend within your budget and capacity. The end result only affects you. Just because someone gifted you a £200 gift, doesn’t mean you need to do the same or top that. And they shouldn’t expect it either.
Isolation, Loneliness, Social Circle
Had a recent breakup? On a rocky boat? A pensioner on your own? All this happening at this time of the year can be mentally and emotionally draining. For those, who are single, those struggling to fit in, those who have no social life, or those suffering from recent break-ups, then Christmas is far from a joyous occasion for them. It can be a time that brings up bad memories – a time when people are already suffering from mental health concerns/ illness, it only heightens their problems. Be aware, Alertness and consideration must be taken into account that you might be on top of the Christmas tree of delight but others around you may be far from that. Finally, check-in on those in need with a friendly smile and gesture however not just at Christmas but also beyond. A kind word and gesture go a long way…
Family Stress and Pressures
Yeah! it’s Christmas so everything changes, Right? Wrong! Just because it is Christmas, the usual daily, weekly chores and routines don’t magically disappear. They are very much still in play with the added pressures of getting organised and prepped for the Christmas Bonanza… To top it up, if you have children they’ll be soon on school holiday. Then there is who to invite, the parents, in-laws, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, etc… the list is endless. In addition to, the stress if certain family members don’t get on. Holly Molly! What a fiasco! Now, what about those divorced families? Now that is another whole ball game of stress.
The smallest gestures are the greatest gifts! Don’t let the Christmas spirit be broken by unnecessary stress and pressures which you can control. Make amends, don’t hold grudges. What is truly the point? Let bygones be bygones as you’ll find yourself much happier and less under pressure. Prioritise and see the benefits before just jumping in. Take charge of your mental health and wellbeing.