Why Christmas can be stressful

Christmas may be about presents and parties but it is also about pressure – pressure to connect with other people and pressure to consume. Mixing with people you have not necessarily chosen to spend time with is difficult in any circumstance for many of us (if we liked and wanted to do this we would make more of an effort to do it throughout the year), but especially so when it is expected to be filled with joy and fun.

We don’t always get carried along with this wonderful feeling of connection and that’s when we ‘cope’ by drinking more alcohol to ratchet up the pretense of enjoyment. We will try anything to fill the hollowness that threatens to overwhelm.

Whether because of not having a social group, missing loved ones who were an integral part of this time of year, or being out of work, Christmas can heighten a sense of loss and loneliness. Especially in the face of constant reminders of how we should be enjoying ourselves on TV, Radio, in advertisements, supermarkets, shops – and their loudness drowns out our own bullshit-o-meter.

Getting Real

Take ten steps back and we can see clearly that Christmas is now all about a fierce and sophisticated marketing strategy to sell sell sell. A big part of that strategy involves making us feel guilty and unloving – and unworthy of love – if we don’t buy buy buy. And if we are not careful, we are left with a sense of failure or of letting loved ones or yourself down (there are a myriad of reasons for this – big and small).  And a sense of being on the outside, different, not included, not good enough.

So the question is, should we abide by the philosophy of today’s incessant and artificial pressures to have more, give more, buy more, be more, be better, get more out of
life – making damn sure that nobody knows we are stretching our emotional, financial and energy resources beyond breaking point?

Or should we get real? Recognise that we are all human beings dealing with our own personal struggles, all in need of being given value – being considered, being truly seen and heard and cared about?

A Basic Truth

People treat us as we treat ourselves so it is our first duty of existence to give value to ourselves. To consider, truly hear, see and care about ourselves. Recognise our own personal struggles and try to resolve them.

If we have not been able to do this alone up to this point it makes sense to get help. Find someone you can trust. Someone who has wisdom and truly cares about your wellbeing (be
they family, friends, doctor or therapist) and share your issue. Ask for their perspective and advice. Looking at your issues through someone else’s eyes can often be immensely
helpful. It can change your understanding of a situation. It can also lead you to finding ways to resolve your issue.

Christmas time is so pressured and so filled with awareness of people (or lack of them) that this is the time we become most vulnerable to our struggles. No wonder it is a time of
extreme stress.

If you would like to discuss any issues around Christmas or stress please feel free to contact me.

Siobhan Nell
Cognitive Hypnotherapist
07704 616900


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