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‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year’ according to the 1963 hit single.

But is that actually the case?

‘Bustling’ Christmas markets, ‘long awaited’ family get-togethers and ‘wild’ work dos may sound like heaven for some.

Meanwhile, others may view them as ‘packed’, ‘awkward’, ‘overwhelming’ and, essentially, anxiety provoking.

Anybody can feel anxious or depressed at Christmas. So, here are just a few tips which may help you along the way.

Do what works within your limits

Worried you can’t make everybody happy this Christmas? That’s ok, because chances are, your friends and family will want you to put your happiness over pleasing them anyway.

It may be cheesy, but one of the biggest gifts you can give is time. If you can’t afford to buy a gift for someone, spend quality time with them for free instead.

If you can’t keep to all your engagements, let people know, and choose which ones work best for you.

But don’t avoid your fears

It’s important to note that there’s a difference between doing what works for you and avoiding what doesn’t work for your anxiety or depression.

Don’t avoid the things you find difficult.

As the NHS website states: “When people feel low or anxious, they sometimes avoid talking to other people. Some people can lose their confidence in going out, driving or travelling.

“If this starts to happen, facing up to these situations will help them become easier.”

The tips below should help you with this.

Do speak to others

We all have different social circumstances at Christmas – some of which can make us feel anxious or low.

The festive period can seem so busy, but many of us can end up feeling alone.

If you’re feeling anxious or depressed, reach out to friends and family who you feel comfortable with.

Alternatively, whatever you’re going through, a Samaritan is always there to support you –  24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Call 116 123 for free, or find out about other ways to contact Samaritans.

Do make use of techniques

 Crackers, Christmas pudding, the Queen’s speech and Wham! may be seasonal, but anxiety and depression are not.

Which means the techniques we can use to manage anxiety and depression don’t stop working either.

Soothing rhythm breathing, mindfulness and exercise are just some key techniques that can help us feel better.

Here are some more NHS tips about how to cope with anxiety and how to cope with depression.

Do what makes you happy

At the end of the day, we all want to make each other happy at Christmas (and hopefully the rest of the year too!)

But taking care of yourself is just as important.

It can be as simple as putting on clothes in the morning, going for a walk around the block, or playing your favourite song.

Don’t expect a Christmas miracle – it’s unlikely everything will get better at once. But keep trying and you’ll no doubt get there.

Lorraine Lowe

Lorraine is a fully qualified and accredited Cognitive Behavioural Therapist with 35 years experience. She is also a a fully accredited member of The British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies. (BABCP). I am fully registered member of the General Social Care council.

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