Live well, work well: Festive season depression and stress

While many anticipate a happy festive season, others dread the season. If you feel stressed, obligations can take their toll on even the most cheerful of people. Here are some tips to help you minimise stress.

Causes of Stress

Ask yourself what exactly about the season makes you feel stressed. Your feelings may be triggered by the following:

  • Unhappy childhood memories
  • Relatives that are particularly difficult
  • Reflecting on how life has negatively changed over the course of the year
  • The monotony of the season—seeing the same faces, eating the same food, going through the same motions
  • Lowered immune defences because of cooler temperatures, high incidence of the flu, eating more and sleeping less
  • Financial stress

Minimise Stress

Do not feel you must meet all family obligations. Make a list of the reasons why you engage in various traditions to help you decide what events you should avoid and what to join in on.

The bottom line: do not simply do something or go somewhere because of tradition, especially if it makes you unhappy.

  • Ask others for assistance. For example, ask a relative to host the family get-together, or make it a potluck and have everyone contribute
  • Make a to-do list in chronological order to minimise stress
  • Enjoy the present and try not to worry about what may be lacking
  • Limit your alcohol intake
  • Stay active and continue to eat a balanced diet
  • Create a new tradition, such as volunteering, especially if you feel lonely
  • Make time for yourself and your needs, even when hosting guests in your house
  • Keep tabs on your spending. Make a budget and stick to it, no exceptions
  • Learn to say no. It’s OK not to do everything.