Published on: 12/14/18
Remember when you were a little kid and the thought of Christmas and the holiday season was nothing but true joy? Santa, snowmen, presents, trees, lights and lots and lots of candy! Ah, pure magic it was.
With the festive season almost upon us again, Christmas can still be a magical time but unfortunately, it can also be one of the most stressful times of the year with most of us having so many different expectations to meet in an increasingly demanding world that can leave you wondering how to deal with Christmas anxiety.
With so many of those demands and expectations, the Christmas season can leave many filled with an impending sense of dread that can cause a number of potential mental and physical health problems including anxiety, high blood pressure, and depression.
As a result, that unbridled joy we felt during childhood becomes buried under a mountain of stress, anxiety and even loneliness that can subside into winter anxiety and depression.
For those of us in the northern hemisphere, those challenges can be especially trying during with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) continuing to affect millions of people across the planet and up to 5% of people in the U.S,
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that most typically affects sufferers in Fall or Winter when there is far less sunlight during the day.
For sufferers of the condition, and even for those who don’t suffer from SAD, anxiety during Christmas is highly common.
Really, when you stop and think about it, the pressures we put ourselves under during this time of year are fairly absurd - Rushing around town shopping for presents and food after a hard day at work or on weekends is enough to send even the calmest amongst us into a snowball of festive stress. And that’s just one of the many activities expected of us around the holidays.
For others, especially those without family or loved ones, Christmas can be a truly sad and lonely time of the year as the burden of expectation on us to be happy proves far too much to handle and leads many to suffer from severe cases of winter anxiety and depression.
Indeed with marketers determined to bombard us with a perfect Christmas image of love, family, presents, trees, and huge tables of food, it’s no wonder that for many of who us who are less fortunate, Christmas is an endless worry or disappointment as the pressure to meet societal expectations becomes too much to bear.
Still, there are lots of ways we can limit those stresses and expectations and rediscover the meaning and value of a time of year that still offers so many positive and wonderful things that should provide us with peace, calm and happiness.
So, with that in mind, let’s examine some of the best ways to help us deal with Christmas anxiety over the holiday season.
Get Plenty of Sleep!
Sleep is essential in helping us to rejuvenate and energize and also helps us to both process and store the events of the previous day, allowing us to use those memories and experiences in our decision-making going forward.
When we don’t get enough sleep, it not only interrupts this process, but it also causes stress to our body with research showing that less than 6 hours of sleep per night can cause our bodies cortisol levels to rise which can then causes more feelings of anxiety.
With so much to do over the holiday season, getting enough sleep is definitely the most important thing you can do to help you deal with christmas anxiety so make sure you get at least 7 (preferably 8) hours sleep.
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Try to be Sensible about What you Eat and Drink
As a Scotsman who loves to cook, this one is definitely easier said than done but do try to not get too caught up in the over-indulgence that has become such a staple of the western Christmas experience.
Instead of going crazy at the buffet, take smaller samples, eat slower and try not to get too carried away - even if you do end up being served a mountain of meats and carbs (as we inevitably are in Scotland).
Reduce Your Expectations
So much of the stress and pressure we feel actually comes from how you think. On many occasions, it is actually our unrealistic expectations (both of ourselves and others) that can be at the heart of our disappointment and stress even if we perceive that pressure to be coming from exterior sources.
Maintaining realistic expectations of both yourself and others is a great way of avoiding the disappointment and frustration that can occur when we spend time with the people we actually care for the most at Christmas.
When we learn to reduce, or even eliminate our expectations entirely, we can significantly reduce our stress levels and frustrations as well as our anxiety during Christmas.
In doing this, we can really embrace the really positive feelings that then occur when good things happen to us.
Try a Natural Remedy like CBD
If you’re really struggling with winter anxiety and depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder, CBD could provide a natural alternative to other treatments and help you to deal with Christmas anxiety.
In 2014, research indicated that CBD could have serious potential as a treatment for depression. While further analysis in 2015 indicated similar possibilities when CBD was used to treat a number of different types of anxiety disorders. Anxiety is, of course, one of the main symptoms of SAD.
Indeed, as time passes, more and more studies are now indicating that CBD could offer a potential treatment for a variety of anxiety disorders.
CBD is now known for its amazing interaction with our ECS and as such, analysis from 2017 suggested that CBD can help us to maintain better sleeping patterns, another of the primary SAD symptoms that can be so prevalent during the festive season. The studies suggested that CBD can not only help to maintain more regular sleeping patterns but can enhance REM sleep with the research indicating CBD’s potential in aiding excessive daytime sleepiness.
SAD is known to be a serious impediment to regular sleeping schedules as well as energy levels and with this research, it would seem that CBD could potentially provide a different option for the many who continue to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder and winter anxiety and depression.
Do Something For You!
While you’re trying to please everyone else, remember not to forget yourself!
It’s so easy to get caught up in the hype and hubris that surrounds Christmas but if you want to really enjoy yourself, you must try to make time for you!
We all deserve a little time for ourselves and Christmas should be a chance to catch up on some much-needed rest despite all of the activity.
Read a book, spend some time in your pajamas, get cozy and embrace the season - The holidays really can be an incredible time if we learn to focus on what matters in life. Forget the materialism, lowers those expectations and remember to love your family and enjoy the time we share together.
Life doesn’t need to be so stressful. In fact, in some cases, it is our addiction to stress that causes us so many problems but this year, learn to avoid those trappings and make it a Christmas you’ll never forget (for all the right reasons!)
Disclaimer: Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Endoca and its staff. This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or cure. Endoca CBD products have not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).