Coping With Christmas Stress and New Year Anxiety
The festive period is supposed to be full of good tidings and joy just as every Christmas film or advert portrays, but with increasing economic pressures, the lasting effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the high expectations that come with the season, feelings of stress and anxiety are the norm for a wide range of people at this time of year.
What Is Worrying Britain This Christmas?
To gain a greater understanding of the main causes of stress and anxiety during this festive period, we surveyed 2000 Brits and asked them what was causing them the most stress in the lead-up to Christmas.
The results showed that financial stress was taking over from worries about Christmas decorations and cooking with 48% choosing gift-buying as their biggest cause of anxiety. This was followed second by 30% who said food shopping was causing the most stress.
The top Christmas stresses for the UK this year were:
- Gift buying
- Food shopping
- Getting sick (e.g. Covid-19)
- Seeing family
Other ranking worries highlighted by the survey included Christmas parties/work events [12%], putting up or taking down decorations [11%], hosting [10%] and travelling to see family and friends [9%] as the joys of Christmas have become outweighed by the pressure of inflation and the remnants of the Covid-19 pandemic.
New Year, Same Worries?
Whilst Christmas may seem to be over as soon as it starts, feelings of financial stress or long term worries can often carry into the new year, too. With the increasing pressure of fresh starts and new goals alongside the ever-changing landscape in the UK, the new year can also be a time of high expectations that brings its own big anxieties with it.
When asked what they were most worried about for 2023, the same respondents revealed the top concerns were the cost of living crisis [66%] and the energy prices [53%]:
- Cost of living crisis
- Energy prices
- The economy
- The government
- Health (including Covid-19)
Other anxieties that the UK is taking into the new year also included family wellbeing [13%], job security [7%] and the housing market [7%].
How To Cope With Feeling Overwhelmed at Christmas and New Year?Whether you’re already prone to feelings of stress and anxiety or if the unprecedented conditions the country has faced in the last few months is taking its toll, we have some top tips to help you put your well-being back in the centre of your mind.
Don’t Set ‘Perfection’ As Your Expectation
Unrealistic or high expectations can cause a huge amount of stress at any time, but especially across Christmas and New Year. It’s often a time when social media is full of highlight reels and it seems like everyone is going everywhere, doing everything and buying it all.
It’s important to remember, people often only show the good on their social media which can portray an unrealistic level of ‘perfection’ that we compare ourselves to. Perfection is unachievable, despite what all those cheesy Christmas films suggest, and it’s important to let the small stuff go and ground yourself in the moments across the festive season to allow yourself to really enjoy it.
If your version of New Year's Eve is cosied up at home with your favourite book or playing your favourite video game, then that’s okay.
Don’t fall victim to overspending and going bigger than your budget. As cliche as it is, Christmas isn’t all about what’s underneath the tree. Budget your money effectively, or if you struggle with this there are plenty of free resources that can help organise your finances so you know how much you can afford to spend over the holidays.
Remind Yourself of What Christmas Is Really About
As ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ confirms, Christmas isn’t about the money or the gifts, it’s really about cherishing time with your support system and loved ones. Looking at life with snow-frosted glasses can be hard if you’re already struggling with your mental health as the outside pressures feel like they’re piling up.
Make sure to take time to speak to those around you, don’t feel the need to pretend during this time and instead remember that no price tag or gift wrap can compare to your wellness and soaking in memories with those around you.
Find Time For Yourself, Too
Christmas time can often mean a busy social calendar; work parties, secret Santa, hometown catch-ups and family gatherings. It’s important not to overbook yourself during this time and to still take time out for yourself. This is especially important for introverts, who can become overwhelmed and burnt out from lots of socialising.
Don’t say yes to all the plans and keep some kind of routine. Consider replacing the third party in a row with a meet-up walk that can help you recharge, breathe in the fresh air and get your body active.
Reduce Alcohol IntakeIf you’re an extrovert who is excited to socialise but still anxious about other aspects of the holidays then it could be a good idea to reduce your alcohol intake. Our CBD drinks can be a great substitution, offering the loved flavours of mixers but without the hangover. What’s more, the CBD infusion within the drinks may also help reduce anxiety, too. A win-win for the festive season.
For more information on the link between money and mental health, MIND provides a range of useful resources.
If you’re feeling apprehensive as we approach Christmas and New Year, you’re not alone. Your mental health is for the long haul - not just for Christmas - ensure you prioritise self-care and remind yourself what’s truly important this season.
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