Christmas can be a challenging time for all of us, but it is particularly hard for those struggling with physical and psychological wounds.
Below are some ways to try to make the emotional, financial and personal pressures of the festive season more easily managed to have the best possible Christmas.
Gifts and shopping
Budgeting will always see you coming out on top. Make sure you work with what you’ve got. It may be a cliché, but it really is the thought that counts!
When shopping, try to avoid peak times such as weekends, after work hours, or in the days leading up to Christmas. Online shopping is always a great alternative, or shopping during business hours and avoiding the lunch rush can mean smaller crowds and less stress.
Also know your limits, so if you’re feeling anxious or you’ve had enough of shopping, know how to finish your trip on a positive note. Try to limit the time shopping, and have a plan for what you want to purchase and where to go. If you’re shopping with family or friends, talk to them beforehand about how they can help you to cope. Letting them know that you might want to leave early is a good idea, and talking about a signal to them about how you’re coping when you’re at the shops is also helpful.
Finding a quiet spot and using breathing exercises can also help with coping in stressful situations.
Plan ahead for Christmas Day. If you have a busy day planned or lots of cooking to do, make sure you plan your day before you tackle it. Also make sure you can take time out, and if you’re celebrating with others, try to locate a quiet space for you to breathe away from all of the noise and activity.
If you don’t have plans for Christmas, think of ways to celebrate the holiday anyway. Treat yourself to a nice meal, go for a walk, watch a cheesy Christmas movie, or call your family, friends and other supports to let them know you’re thinking of them over Christmas.
Try to avoid bad holiday habits
Make sure you’re doing things to look after yourself during the holidays. Some good ideas are to exercise when you can, even if it’s a short walk each day, and watch your alcohol intake.
It’s important not to drink excessively or spend too much time indoors during the holidays, as it can often leave you feeling less than festive.
Plan some activity for each day you are at home, and set small goals you know you can achieve.
Have fun and don’t be afraid to reach out for help!
If you need help, make sure you reach out. Some great resources are available at https://www.soldieron.org.au/need-help/, or you can call VVCS on 1800 011 046 or Lifeline on 13 11 14 at any time of the day or night.
Merry Christmas from all of us at Soldier On, and we look forward to seeing you all in 2016!
Some useful links for more information:
Tips to reduce stress over Christmas – https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/christmas-tips-to-reduce-the-stress
Soldier On Mindfulness session – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsJXFehg8Bc
Christmas Crisis Care – http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/mhdao/Factsheets/Pages/christmas_crisis.aspx