• Julia Taylor-James

Family Christmas Stressors

Though some people look forward to it this day of the year, for annual family gatherings, holidays and decorating the Christmas tree. There are others who find the entire celebration a huge stress or difficult time, for reasons such as;

Obligations – turning up. For many the pressure of appearing at family gatherings or work dos is a mere headache.

Expectations – gifts, new-build completion or family commitments.

Reminders – old wounds, broken hearts and/or memories of days gone when ‘things were different'.

Absent Loved Ones – grieving for those who are no longer able to continue the traditions, share time together, hear their laughter, sitting at the table with you.

OCD – perfectionism – having everything perfect in the house for when people arrived to the point you almost feel like you’re the only one who cares or gets it.


For those who can manage to share some festive cheer may be you could take a little time for those who struggle, offer them some positive vibes, an invitation, a small gift from your garden or even a simple smile which can make the world of difference.


Even those who seem like they are coping may be struggling. It is important to remember Christmas has different meaning for each person, but one thing that can turn feelings such as frustration and sadness, is to take a look at what’s good in your world. This may be your health, someone close to you, a friendly neighbour, a nearby church full of people who will welcome you, faith in something or your ability to do something others may not be able to do.

For those who are too hurt to think this way, or angry and don’t want to be grateful. Take a moment to breath deeply though the nose for the count of 4, hold for a second and release slowly through the mouth to the count of 5, repeat a few times, then hum a tune and take a big yawn. These tips will help for the time to pass and feel more relaxed and present in the moment. Sometimes it’s the small steps that can make the difference.


Be kind to yourself…

And remember, to do something for another changes your focus – like looking out of a window, rather than in to a mirror.

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