Christmas can be a period of high stress.
Christmas can be a period of high stress. Claudia Baxteralliancethinkstock

Stay in high holiday spirits

CHRISTMAS can be a happy time to spend with family and friends, but the pressure of functions and family can often cause more stress, not lessen it.

Centre for Healthy Living psychologist Mark Cary said Christmas could exacerbate anxiety and depression.

"Leading up to Christmas you're balancing the demands of getting shopping done, family obligations, looking after kids and hosting guests for parties," Mr Cary said.

"It's important to pace yourself with food and drinking and party attendance and not stress yourself too much.

"It's often at this time of year people can feel lonely or anxious especially if they've recently lost or separated from someone, so it's good to have a group of friends or family to call on at this time."

When it comes to gift shopping, Mr Cary urged shoppers to stick to a budget.

"The commercial element of Christmas can put pressure on families to spend so it's important to stick to a budget," he said.

"It's important to stay modest and not go beyond what you can manage."

Warwick headspace manager Sophia McLucas said being with others was crucial for mental wellbeing at Christmas, and urged people to access help.

"If you are alone it does tend to bring up that sort of stuff when you don't have family and friends to be with around at this time," Mrs McLucas said.

"It may be good to volunteer or connect with others who don't have family to spend time with.

"Just remember that for those less fortunate or alone it can be a difficult time and bring up issues for people, and although people see it as happy festive time, reaching out for help is not a sign of weakness."



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