Anxiety disorders and surviving Christmas

Retirement or taking a career break

How you can survive Christmas with an anxiety disorder

Christmas can be one of the most stressful and frustrating times of the year. As the weeks creep in, for those who suffer with anxiety disorders, it can be an excruciating period, filled with dread and fear of what is yet to come.

Spending time with family over the Christmas period can re-ignite old difficulties, cracks that may already exist in relationships may deepen as you spend a greater amount of time together and the financial burden can put an additional strain on current tensions.

If you are on your own, Christmas can also heighten feelings of loss and isolation and it can be incredibly difficult to unwind and relax at such a difficult time of the year.

Manageable advice for surviving Christmas

However, to help manage your anxiety with this coming season, here are a few tips to get you through these trying months:

Manage expectations and alleviate disappointments: Try to avoid making expectations of the season and acknowledge that disappointment is your reaction to your expectations. Over time your awareness of managing expectations and disappointment will increase.

Prepare and acknowledge tensions Acknowledge that this time of year will clearly result in longer periods of time with family or spouses. Try to prepare for these periods, finding things to do and allowing yourself to recognise that pro-longed proximity with relatives, over longer periods of time may cause tensions. By increasing your awareness, you will be more prepared for the inevitable.

Travel & contingencies Travelling can cause an unbearable burden particularly at Christmas. Avoid travelling in peak times and make a contingency plan in case travel plans are disrupted. This is the start of the Christmas ‘break’; travelling should be a part of that relaxing and fun time.

The importance of you Don't spend all your time providing activities for your family and friends. If you’re a parent, remember your own need to have fun; aim for a balance of activities that meet everyone’s needs. Planning and teamwork: Involve the family in plans and in the workload. Children can have some say, and parents’ needs count as well.

Most importantly, don’t try to do it all. Christmas can be stressful for everyone. Prepare and allow for the odd disaster. Christmas is for making memories not problems!

Please get in touch for a chat to see if counselling could be your way to being you again.


Carla is an experienced and highly trained therapist working in Milton Keynes (Bucks). She is both BABCP accredited and a BACP Member. She is also an accredited Family Law Consultant with Resolution. Carla is an empathetic counsellor who works with her clients in a safe, comfortable and confidential environment.

Central Milton Keynes - & Buckinghamshire (London)

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