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The pressure of Christmas.

It is the time of year when Christmas is approaching.  Christmas can be a very exciting and happy time for people. It can be something to look forward to and something that families enjoy and cherish.

However, it can also be an incredibly stressful time for people.  The pressure that people often put on themselves can be immense.  In terms of buying presents, seeing people, hosting, cooking and also the pressure of enjoying things can also be too much sometimes.  Often stresses such as money, bringing families together, managing people’s expectations, balancing time spent with loved ones etc, can all bring about their own difficulties.

As a result people can often feel very run down at this time of year, struggle with sleeping, or perhaps come down with various illnesses.  It depends how people cope with stress.  More extreme versions can even be depression, sadness, lack of motivation etc.

Eating and drinking can also be a very difficult thing for people to manage during this time.  People often find that they can over indulge and this can bring about its own difficulties and emotional ups and downs.  But in addition to this for those in recovery it can be really hard to cope with Christmas.  Imagine if your living with anorexia, and being faced with the prospect of a full Christmas dinner, or if your bulimic and surrounded by loads of food.  Or contemplate what it feels like to be an alcoholic and to have to attend so many social functions where alcohol is the focus.  All of this is an incredible balancing act.

It can also be a time when people can feel sad , upset  or alone.  If people have lost someone they love, or were close to, then a void is apparent and the pain of the person not being there can be extreme.  Sadness can take over the happiness that people feel they should be experiencing.  Grief can be really painful during this festive period.  Grief can also apply to relationships that have broken down, or perhaps those that are breaking down.  If you think about divorce or separation, then both bring their own struggles, but these are often heightened at Christmas time.  It can be a very difficult time for people.

It is important to think about how you can support yourself during this period.  Self-care is crucial during this time. Try and put some healthy boundaries in place.  This can mean not saying yes to everything, or not putting too much pressure on yourself to keep everyone happy or to be ‘perfect’. Remember there is no such thing.  Keep an eye on how much you are doing, and try to slow down, when it is possible.  Take some quality time for yourself, when you need to.  Do the things that make you relax.  Maybe it is a yoga class, reading a book, taking a hot bath. However you relax, make it happen.

Try to remember the word moderation. Apply this to food, to drink, to sleep, etc.  Aim for a balance in your life.  You don’t want to be exercising every day but then you also don’t want to do no exercise at all.  Work for somewhere in the middle.  It is achievable.  Make sure you don’t bottle everything up.  Speak up and let people know when you are feeling anxious, stressed or when things feel too much.  Other people can help you, and they can support you.  In addition to this, don’t try and do everything by yourself.  You don’t have to do it all, and you certainly don’t have to stress yourself trying to do it all.  Remember how important you are, and value yourself.

Here at your counselling service we recognise the stresses and strains of Christmas time, and so we run our counselling service during this difficult period.  Our counselling doesn’t stop for the holidays.  So if things feel too much and you would like someone to talk to then please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone or drop us an e mail. (07590 663938 or

December can be a difficult and challenging time, as well as a wonderful and exciting one.  We are hear to help if you need us.