The stressful side 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’.  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.



Improving relationships

One of the biggest reasons that people come for counselling, is because something has gone wrong in their relationship.  Often couples find that they are no longer communicating, that they have very little patience with one another or that they do not have the time to spend with each other.  Sometimes they are barely speaking before they enter counselling.  That said, there are other occasions when people will come for counselling to try and stop a relationship getting to that stage.

If you feel that your relationship is in a difficult place, then there are several things that you could try in order to improve it.

1. Making time for each other.

It sounds like something so simple.  But busy lives, and hectic schedules can mean that couples barely see each other.  Try implementing a ‘date night/day’ into your week.  This doesnt have to be something expensive, but it could involve a meal somewhere, a long walk, or an activity that you both enjoy.  Try and do something that is light hearted and makes you both smile.  It is often a good idea to do something that will involve you talking and interacting, rather then watching the T.V.

2. Communication

Communication is often the biggest thing to go in a relationship.  So try and make time to actually listen to one another.  It is really important that there isnt always a distraction around you.  So if you are used to eating infront of the television, then turn it off.  Talk to each other! Ask how each other is really doing, and listen.  Pay attention to the small details and show interest in what has happened in the other persons day / life.

3. Respect

In any relationship it is really important to respect the other person.  This means , never taking them for granted, and trying to listen to what it is that they need from you.  Don’t put another person down and make sure that they are not doing this to you.  Mutual respect is vital and important in all relationships.  Try and compliment one another more, instead of looking for faults, or complaining about things that may not have been quite right.  Remember why you feel in love with this person in the first place and look for what it is that you like and cherish about them.

4. Laughter and fun

Life may have become very stressful and serious for you both.  The pressure of jobs , mortgages, children, money etc can all be very intense and cause strain for any relationship.  Try and make time to enjoy one another and laugh together.  How did the two of you used to have fun? What was it that made you both smile? Remember those things, and see if you can bring them back into the relationship. If you can do this, then things will feel more natural and less heavy.

5. Trust

Trust is such a vital part of any relationship, and if it has been broken , then this can have destructive consequences.  It takes time to develop and to build back up again, if it has been lost.  But if you want to be with this person, then you need to start trusting them again, and giving them a chance to prove that they can be trusted.  Try not to be to suspicious or look for the negatives all the time.  Even if you have been hurt a lot, that doesnt mean that the person will hurt you again. Set boundaries and guidelines around what you both need in terms of honesty and trust, and try to re build your relationship so that it has integrity and openness.

6. Self awareness and understanding

Any two people in a relationship will come with thier own history , with its range of issues and concerns.  Some individuals will have been hurt in the past, maybe rejected or abandoned.  Others will have been abused or neglected. Whatever has happened in your past, try and be aware of it, and mindful of how this can come out and impact on your current relationships and behaviour.  Remember that other people may touch buttons that are painful for you, but they are not the person that originally hurt you.  Try your best to let go of the past and to not let it dictate your future with a loved one.  This is a difficult thing to achieve but working on your own levels of self confidence and esteem can really help with this.

These points are by no means all of the ways that relationships can be improved upon, but I do hope that they help you , in terms of building a greater sense of peace and harmony with your partner.

From your counsellor…..

Hi everyone, and welcome to my blog.  I have set this up as a way of interacting with people that are looking for support with various areas of thier lives.  It may be that you need counselling right now, have had it in the past, or perhaps you are interested in setting an an initial assessment.  Where ever you may be in your journey, this blog is about providing you with some ideas around self help, tips, information and advice.  I will regularly update it and ensure that you are receiving support on an ongoing basis.  Whether you are in recovery for an eating disorder, looking for guidance on relationships or trying to build self esteem and confidence, this blog will offer something for each of you.  Please feel free to contact me and ask if there is anything specific that you would like more information on.