Skip to content Skip to footer

How to deal with stress at Christmas

It’s that time of year when the whole world seems to be on countdown to the festive season, and although it is the season to be jolly, it's not always that simple.

With jingle bells ringing in your ears at every turn, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Last-minute presents, dealing with the in-laws, over-excited children, and the decision over where to spend Christmas Day all contribute to stress.

How you can tackle stress this Christmas

Here are some simple tips on how to plan ahead, keep calm and focus on what’s important this Christmas.

1. Organise

If the thought of all the tasks you need to tackle makes your head spin, one simple solution is to create a list of jobs.

You’re likely to feel more in control if you keep everything in one place, and start ticking off items well in advance.

2. Don't feel pressured

Not sure where to spend Christmas Day? It’s a decision that many families face each year.

If you have young children, you may want to decide to spend Christmas Day at your own home. Children often feel comfortable with their own routine and their own things around them when they are young. Trying to avoid long journeys can be a good idea.

If your relationship is not as positive with other family members, then choose not to see them on Christmas Day. You could decide to keep Christmas between close family, and visit your extended family later, over Boxing Day and New Year.

Once you’ve decided where to spend Christmas, try to stay positive and open-minded and avoid subjects that may cause difficult conversations or arguments.

3. Declutter

There are lots of good reasons to clear out the extra stuff in your home before the holiday season. Use up food in the freezer to make space. Check your drink supplies before shopping for more. Clear kitchen surfaces to make it quick and easy to prepare meals. Tidy out your spare room to allow space for guests.

Donate any unused toys and games to charity. This prepares you for the festive season and makes space for any new presents.

4. Working together

If you’re having a get-together, don’t be afraid to ask for help - this is a sign of strength, not weakness. Most people like to feel useful when they’ve been invited over for Christmas. Create little jobs such as peeling vegetables, setting the table or pouring drinks.

To avoid slumps or awkward conversation, ask someone to organise games after dinner. Dig out old board games or try a team game on the kids' games console. Consider non-TV related activities this year. It’s unlikely everyone will want to watch the same thing and a more interactive activity keeps everyone involved and continues the festive mood.

5. Make space for yourself

If there’s too much to do, sometimes the most useful thing to do is… nothing. Stop, breathe and focus. Feasts and festivals are celebrations, so take time to make the most of the opportunity to spend time with family, friends, or community. Enjoy.

Look after your mental wellbeing this Christmas

The Christmas season isn’t always easy. If you’re a Benenden Health member, you can access our Mental Health Helpline 24/7. Whether you're suffering from anxiety, depression, bereavement, or relationship problems, we can make sure you don’t have to handle it alone by providing access to an experienced therapist.