7 Tips for Coping at Christmas

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Posted 149 days ago Latest
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7 Tips for Coping at Christmas

Written by Dr Hannah Farnsworth

The holiday season is often portrayed as a time of joy, celebration and togetherness. But many teenagers find Christmas stressful, upsetting or lonely. However you feel about it, here are seven tips to help you cope with the festive season.


1 Set Realistic Expectations

It’s easy to get caught up in the picture-perfect holiday scenes presented on social media or in Christmas films. Remember that it’s ok if your Christmas isn’t like this – set realistic expectations for yourself, and focus on what matters to you. This could be seeing friends or family, not doing any schoolwork for a few days, or spending the day watching movies or reading a book.


2 Prioritise Self-Care

If you’re at school or college, the end of term can feel busy and draining. Think about what will help your wellbeing at Christmas, and prioritise the things you need. This might include getting enough sleep, spending time outside walking or exercising, eating meals you like, or taking part in activities that bring you comfort or joy.


3 Reach Out to Friends

Lots of people feel lonely or disconnected during the holidays. Get in touch with friends – whether they live nearby or far away – and share your thoughts and feelings. If you can, arrange to meet up to spend time together.


4 Create Your Own Traditions

Your Christmas doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. Talk to your family about starting new traditions, like trying a new recipe, visiting a certain place on Christmas day, starting a craft project or choosing a new Christmas film to watch together.


5 Manage Family Tensions

You may find it hard to spend extended periods of time with family members, and this can lead to feelings of stress, anxiety, anger or sadness. If it feels too difficult to talk to relatives about how they make you feel, try to protect yourself by making time to look after your wellbeing – journaling, creative activities and listening to music can all help.


If you have a trusted relative or friend you can talk to, sharing your worries can help you feel calmer. You may also find friends offer valuable support and ideas for coping with family tensions.


6 Manage Social Pressures

Christmas can be a busy time for social events and gatherings, which can feel overwhelming. If you’re feeling pressure to attend every party, it’s ok to turn some down - “thank you for thinking of me, but I’m sorry I won’t be able to attend,” is a polite way of declining.


7 Embrace Gratitude

If Christmas feels challenging, take time to reflect on the positive parts of your life. Expressing gratitude for the people, opportunities and experiences you have can help you feel more settled.


Christmas is often not like the movies. Trying the tips above can help you find ways to be kind to yourself, prioritise your wellbeing, and focus on the aspects of the holiday season that can bring you contentment.


If you are concerned about yourself, a friend or family member you can get immediate mental health crisis information 24/7 by FreeTexting HELP to 50015. It is free of charge to text this number even if you have no credit. More detailed support information is available at ?


Posted by Dr Hannah Farnsworth

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