We call it the festive or silly season, but for many among us it can be a stressful time. Reflecting on a difficult year, 2020 has certainly challenged us in many ways.
Other end of year stressors include burnout, added financial pressure, school finishing, extended shared parenting through the holiday period, and some feel lonelier and more depressed if they’re isolated or don’t have family around them. For some, this may be their first Christmas alone after losing a loved one.
And then there’s the expectations to attend end-of-year social gatherings, where we can sometimes feel out of place.
If you are dreading an event because you’re uncomfortable talking to certain people, here are a couple of tips to make the conversation easier:
- Look for something you have in common. There’s always something about others you will find interesting – your objective is to find out what that is.
- Look for ways to turn the conversation into fun and have a laugh. If you’re laughing with somebody, you will find the time passes by much quicker.
If managing stress is your biggest issue, the first thing to work on is practising good self-care (this usually is the first to be forgotten during times of difficulty).
Take an extra 10 minutes to grab yourself a quiet coffee, do one push-up (and then another), listen to a meditation or practise deep breathing.
When we are stressed, it’s easy to sweat the small stuff, but doing these little things can make all the difference to how much you let things get to you.
If this year has taught us anything, it’s that we need to value what’s important, including you. Look after yourself and value your health and wellbeing. If this is an area you struggle with because you are always working to look after everyone around you, you are not alone. That’s when you may need to consider getting further support to help you put some strategies in place.
It’s true that this year has been stressful, which means there may be a knock-on effect into the festive season. No matter what triggers are associated with your stress, do your best to maintain a positive attitude.
And remember – if you look after yourself, you’ll be more effective at looking after others. Let’s all aim to move forward into the new year positively – no matter what life throws at us.
Brad Everton Buderim psychologist and author