Try to have a peaceful and stress free Christmas.
Try to have a peaceful and stress free Christmas.

Manage stress over the festive season

IF YOU believe the advertising, Christmas is a time when family comes together in joy and peace.

No arguing over the pudding, no snipping at your know-it-all sister or arguing with your impossible brother-in-law, no worries about money, no-one drinks too much or fights about how to best barbecue the prawns.

While many revel in getting together with family and friends, others in our community are facing a time where they are battling family conflict, financial pressures or isolation.

For many people, Christmas can be a time of stress, anxiety and loneliness, which can trigger symptoms of depression and anxiety and for those who are experiencing severe stress due to a job loss, financial issues, bereavement or a relationship breakdown, it can be the saddest time of the year.

According to Beyondblue, the festive season can be a very stressful time of year and pressures associated with Christmas and New Year celebrations may trigger symptoms of depression and anxiety in vulnerable people.

The organisation said its Support Service is available 24/7 over the holiday period.

"If you want someone to chat to about your concerns, you can phone 1300 22 4636 to talk to one of the trained mental health professionals, or you can use live web chat (3pm till midnight AEDT) or email for a response within 24 hours,” a spokesman said.

"Or you can visit www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support for more information or to get in touch.”

According to Dr Luke Martin, Beyondblue's clinical psychologist and Project Manager - Families, it is critical to take care of your mental health during the holiday period.

"With the demands and pressures of modern life, we often feel like we're running on empty, not just physically, but also emotionally,” Dr Martin said.

"Holidays are a time to full up the tank again, so it's important to take regular holidays, even short ones, to look after your mental health.”

Dr Martin said holidays also provide the space to stop and think about your life.

"Ask yourself: am I living a meaningful and happy life?” he said.

"Consider what's working in your life, and what's not, and come up with a plan to get back on track. These moments of self-reflection are critical to boosting your mental health.”

One tip Dr Martin has or coping over the holidays is to disconnect from work.

"Tell colleagues you can't be contacted., disconnect work email from your phone and park worried thoughts about work when they arrive,” he said.

"When you start a holiday, develop a ritual for disconnecting from your work worries, such as writing down all the things you're worried about and putting that piece of paper in a bin on the way to your destination, or stored away to be looked at when you return.”



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