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Integrated, solution-focussed therapy

Christmas Stress — Jingling Bells and Jangling Nerves

07. Dec. 2017 by Valerie Walker

Woman relaxing in front of a christmas tree

The countdown to Christmas seems to begin earlier each year, and all this extra time focused on the festive season can result in added stress. The pressure to create a Christmas full of joy and celebration for our loved ones, the constant socialising, and the increase in financial obligations, all contribute to a rise in stress levels that can seriously impact our mental health. Of course, some of this added stress can bring a positive effect to our pre-Christmas preparations, and can help motivate and energise us ahead of this busy time of year. However, at some point the ‘positive’ or helpful stress can transform into ‘negative’, unhelpful stress, and this is when it is time for you to take a step back and make important changes.

In our fast-paced, modern world it is easy to forget to stop and prioritise our own mental health. In particular, the festive period is a busy time with numerous tasks: working, shopping, cleaning, organising, cooking and socialising. All of these additional jobs and expectations may leave us feeling overwhelmed and overworked, and all too soon the joy and magic of Christmas is replaced with feelings of frustration and anxiety. When we are living within this constant level of stress it can soon become a dangerous norm, and because we are unaware of it, we do not address or combat the stress effectively.

Christmas can be a trigger to both of the categories of stress: acute short-term stress or chronic long-term stress. Acute stress is the most common form of stress. It comes from demands and pressures of the recent past and anticipated demands and pressures of the near future. While acute stress can be motivating and exciting in small doses, too much is exhausting. Chronic stress is the grinding stress that wears people down day after day and year after year. This form of stress can destroy bodies, minds and lives, and can wreak havoc through long-term attrition. Chronic stress develops when a person cannot see a way out of a miserable situation - it's the stress that is instigated by unrelenting demands and pressures for what seems like an interminable period of time. With no hope, the individual gives up searching for solutions. Christmas can bring on acute stress due to the added pressures that are piled on over the holiday season, and it can also exacerbate the condition of those already suffering from chronic stress.

It is important to be aware of the warning signs that too much stress on our bodies and minds can have, including:

  • BEHAVIOURAL — Eating more or less, using alcohol, drugs or cigarettes, withdrawing from others, sleeping too much or too little, neglecting responsibilities, and nervous habits.
  • EMOTIONAL — Depression, anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, irritability, loneliness and isolation, and anger.
  • PHYSICAL — Aches and pains, loss of sex drive, nausea, dizziness, diarrhoea, constipation, chest pains, and frequent colds and flus.

Despite Christmas being hailed as a time to be surrounded by family and friends, many people feel alone due to the isolating feelings and behaviours stress can cause. If any symptoms of stress begin to cause an adverse effect on your life, then it is important to consider some of the amazing therapy options that are available. Hypnotherapy can address the underlying emotions that feed the stress, and effective hypnotherapy can quickly get right down to the root of the problem. Under the guidance of a trained hypnotherapist, beliefs and behaviours can be profoundly altered while in a deep state of relaxation and calm. NLP, or Neuro-Linguistic Programming, offers powerful tools and techniques that can help rediscover inner potential through the change from negative thoughts and behaviours to positive. BWRT, or Brain Working Recursive Therapy, is an innovative and immensely powerful way of working that can dissolve problems almost instantaneously. It effectively challenges instinctive mental processes, and offers therapeutic intervention for faulty decision-making and negative thoughts.

Everybody suffers from varying levels of stress throughout their lives, and we will all need some extra help at certain times. However, Christmas is a universal trigger for stressful situations, and many of us are left feeling overwhelmed and exhausted by the added strain it brings. This December, when faced with the many challenges of Christmas stress, make your mental health a priority and give yourself the gift of self-care.