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10 Ways of Overcoming Festive Anxiety

While the shifting of seasons can bring about the winter blues, the run up to Christmas can instill anxiety in many of us. The shops are crowded beyond capacity before December even begins, the obligation to visit and contact family members that make you feel uncomfortable, not to mention the pressure of putting on “The Perfect Christmas”. 

Christmas is often seen as a joyous occasion but that doesn’t mean that everyone is excited about the upcoming holiday. Many are the opposite. The fluorescent lights and loud music might make some shoppers more anxious even if the store is deserted and some people might not have the finances to go all out this year.  

Here’s 10 ways you can help overcome festive anxiety this holiday season.  

Be careful with the alcohol you drink.

Many of us drink over the festive season, but that doesn’t mean that you have to just because everyone else is. Alcohol is a known depressant so if you are feeling anxious or depressed, it might be wise to watch what you drink.  

Plan ahead for anything you know to trigger your anxiety

If you don’t do well in crowded spaces do your christmas shopping a little earlier, online or through click and collect services to minimize the time you spend in store. If you know that food will affect you this festive season, are there any measures you could put in place so that your focus isn’t on food? 

Set a price limit

Set a price limit on how much you can spend on presents and ask what people would like rather than guessing what they might like. You might also risk getting them something they already own so there’s no harm in asking what people would like within your spending limit. At the end of the day, it means they won’t get a mountain of socks and perfume. 

'Set a price limit on how much you can spend on presents and ask what people would like rather than guessing what they might like.'


Exercise is proven to help with your mental health. Going on winter walks, even if it is just round the corner, to escape the environment that might feel suffocating.

The image of the ‘perfect Christmas’ is highly unrealistic.

TV Adverts might showcase the perfect Christmas but that does not have to be the goal. Many times something goes wrongalmost burning the turkey, clothes are gifted in the wrong size, family members start arguing, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t still enjoy the day. Your worries don’t go on holiday. You might need regular breaks from social interaction or you might not have a smile on 24/7 and that’s perfectly okay. 

Sleep well.

Don’t lose sleep over Christmas if you can help it.  

Here’s some handy tips on how to achieve a better night’s sleep:  

  • Sticking to a sleep schedule. A regular sleeping pattern both when you go to bed and when you wake can help you achieve a better night’ sleep.  
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks after dinner. A cup of coffee in the morning is good to keep you awake, but it’s not ideal before bed.  
  • Create a comfortable and relaxing environment to sleep in. Invest in some soft bedsheets, some nice plump cushions…maybe an eye mask and ear plugs too.  
  • Avoid daytime naps. If you regularly nap during the day, your body is less likely to be tired come bedtime.  
  • Include physical activity in your daytime. Maybe include a little homework out before bed.  

A preloved Christmas

A preloved Christmas can help you save finances – check out our article on how to have a pre loved Christmas. 

Trust another with your mental health.

Let them know when you’re struggling and if you need to take a break from the festivities or when you are beginning to panic so they can help you. Simply asking someone to come with you to the shops because they make you anxious can make the world of difference. 

Be mindful of your food intake

If this doesn’t negatively impact any existing or recovering eating disorders. There’s loads of tempting treats around the festive season but the food we eat can have a significant impact on your mood. 

You are loved.

Seeing family can make people anxious for a variety of reasons: many members of the  LGBTQ+ community might not be accepted by family, but still have to interact with them. Some people have strong differing opinions with their family and are nervous about causing an argument on Christmas and some might feel pressured by their family to maintain the perfect Christmas image. If seeing or speaking to certain family members is making you uncomfortable, sandwich it in between interacting with people who make you feel loved or social breaks. 


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