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Monday, 07 Dec 2020

How to survive a Covid Christmas

By Dr Becky Spelman

In popular culture, it’s cited as the most wonderful time of the year, but we all know that Christmas can be stressful for everyone involved. Whether it’s having to deal with difficult relatives, shopping for children who have everything, or making time for your 101 social commitments, it can feel more like an extra job than an enjoyable holiday to spend with family and friends.

This year is a bit special—and definitely not in the best possible sense of the word! On top of all the usual Christmas stress and strain, we need to continue socially distancing, protect our vulnerable loved ones, and remain concerned for our own health too. Those social commitments will probably have to shift online, or wait for a few months.

If the Christmas panic is already setting in and you want to ensure that you don’t let it get the better of you, check out our tips for surviving Christmas 2020 both physically and mentally.

Plan, plan, plan

One of the best ways that you can get through this crazy time of year is by ensuring that you are well prepared. When it comes to getting organised, lists are an invaluable tool that you really ought to be making use of. Write down everyone that you need to get presents for and tick them off once they’ve been purchased (this year, try to support local businesses that could really use your help rather than online giants like Amazon).  Make a note of all the food and drink that you need to buy. Use a calendar to keep track of your online dates and appointments. Lists will help you stay on top of things and also mean that you avoid panic when you’ve forgotten something important.

Don’t sweat the small stuff

We all have a lot of things to prepare for and think about at this time of year and if you waste energy worrying about tiny details that don’t go as planned, you won’t enjoy anything, so instead try not to let small mistakes or slip ups get you down. This year is going to be unlike any other Christmas, so if you can stay calm and collected by scaling back Christmas dinner or letting the family stay in their pyjamas for the day—go for it! Use Zoom, WhatsApp, FaceTime or the app of your choice to get in touch with your loved ones, and give yourself permission to just relax.

Stay healthy

With delicious food around every corner and drinks flowing, it’s easy to let yourself go over the holidays and enter into the New Year a few pounds heavier. While indulging is fine, try not to go too crazy as this is likely to leave you feeling bloated and miserable. Weight gain will also affect your confidence, so stick to healthy alternatives the majority of the time. If you enjoy a festive drink, be sure to stock up on healthy breakfast items and drink lots of water to avoid hangovers.

One of the big take-home social impacts of Covid has been the realisation that, for most of us, access to the outdoors and nature is absolutely vital for our mental health. Many of us scale back on our outdoors exercise when the weather turns nasty—but would do well to take a leaf out of our Canadian and Scandinavian friends’ book and just dress appropriately for winter weather. With a good padded coat, gloves and scarves, a winter walk can be just as much fun as a summer one—and it will have huge benefits for both our mental and our emotional health, now more than ever.

WHO CAN I SPEAK TO ABOUT CHRISTMAS STRESS?

If you are feeling overwhelmed and having a hard time dealing with the stress of Christmas 2020 and all the anxieties of the Covid pandemic, get in touch to talk to someone at the Private Therapy Clinic today by booking online.

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