I wanted to share my tips top tips for reducing anxiety at Christmas with you. I blame the TV adverts for making us all feel that there is a ‘perfect’ world out there where normal rules are suspended for a few weeks while we all suddenly start getting along with our families, and the teenagers gaze at their parents with adoring eyes, and small children glow with the magic of Christmas, and our pets didn’t just mess in the house!
For some reason we all get swept along with these mythical images, all of which don’t forget are designed to make us feel that we would be so much happier/thinner/more gorgeous/more sexually attractive(*insert as applicable) if we just spent more money on random stuff. We feel guilty if we can’t afford the latest ‘essential’ item, or we don’t get the right present for people we love, or we are not actually enjoying the process at all. There’s a weird expectation that we would be happy just because a date on the calendar comes round.
We are bombarded with these images all through December, in the same way that January we will be bombarded with gyms, sunny holidays, and credit companies telling us we can consolidate our loans. It’s a barrage of toxic stuff and it’s incredibly hard to avoid it. No wonder that we normal human beings cannot help feeling inadequate and imperfect, it’s an impossible goal to achieve.
If you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed this Christmas season, do remember that it’s all been invented by advertising companies and it’s designed to make you feel bad so that you will buy more things.
So, to rebel against the nonsense, read my top tips below…
1. Whenever you can, get outside.
Spend some time in nature. Go for a walk, take time to breathe deeply and slowly, and notice the natural world all around. As you move your body, notice the anxiety falls away and you feel instantly better. And…bonus tip – You can go for more than one walk a day…repeat until you know you’ve set yourself up for the next few hours. Particularly useful for when your family is triggering you.
2. Have a digital detox.
Where you stop scrolling and put your phone down, and turn the TV and devices all off. If you tell people in advance, they won’t feel ignored and they might be inspired to do the same. Create some time where you are doing things that are more nurturing, whether it be cooking, painting, crafting, making things, doing a jigsaw, singing, playing music or making music. All things that are so much more nourishing for the soul.
3. Call an old friend.
Not a text or whatsapp. Actually call and have a chat. Connection is what is missing for so many and it’s causing an epidemic of low mood and loneliness. Think what a difference it might make to that person that you called them.
4. Write an acknowledgement list.
This is where you acknowledge yourself for all the things you did during the year. This gives you some perspective on the year as a whole, rather than focusing on what you’re not doing, give yourself praise for what you did do.
5. Spend time clearing out a cupboard.
I know that it’s a bit early for a spring clean, but by clearing out old things that you’re no longer using helps anxiety. You could take your unwanted items to a local charity shop. You will then begin to notice that firstly you don’t really need more things and how many of our current possessions are not even used. A clear space helps towards a clear mind.
6. Pull the covers over your head!
What I mean by this is to get more sleep. Sleep is the most important thing you can do to create and maintain your health. Many of us are surviving on too little sleep, which in turn causes us to feel like we are wading through treacle. Lack of sleep brings that overwhelm feeling, making our bodies out of balance.
Good luck, and remember it’s only a few days, like everything, it will pass.
If you are struggling with your anxiety symptoms over the festive period, you can learn more about how I can rid you of these issues here.
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