News Archive

Tweddle News

Taking care of your mental health this festive period

Posted by Kerrie Gottliebsen | 10/12/13

Christmas can be a very busy and stressful time. The expense of buying gifts, financial and time pressures, isolation, family tensions, separation and divorce, bereavement, step-family challenges, or just reflecting on another year gone by can make for a time of significant anxiety.

Tweddle Psychologist Nikki Zerman confirms the difficulties experienced by many families. “During the festive period we tend to get caught up with wanting to please everyone and ensuring everything goes perfectly.  The reality is this is impossible. It’s best to pick one or two things you’d like to focus on at this time and accept that you can’t control or be responsible for everything”

“ Strategies to help reduce stress include having realistic expectations and appreciate that everyone is under stress to a certain degree” She said “ You could use relaxation techniques and avoid overindulging in alcohol which often contributes to or causes disagreements”

It may help you through this period to ask everyone to participate, ie being a plate or delegate tasks. Isolation is also a huge challenge for people at this time.  If separated by distance, keep in constant touch by phone, mail and email.  If you think you might be spending the day without company, make plans for Christmas Day. Consider volunteering for charity work – for example, you could help organisations such as The Salvation Army give Christmas lunch to people in need.

If you are in a separated family it can help being prepared.  When children are involved, the separated couple should try hard to be civil during the festive season or at least limit their disagreements to times when their children are out of earshot. Arrange, if necessary, to stagger the Christmas celebrations so that the children can spend (for example) Christmas Day with one parent and Boxing Day with the other.

To keep it fair, you can swap arrangements the following year.  Try not to take arrangements too personally. Appreciate that now is not the time to sort out long-standing grievances. Christmas is stressful enough as it is. If possible, wait until things have settled down in the New Year.

Nikki Zerman highlighted the importance of seeking help during periods of stress. “ If you’re feeling overwhelmed or having difficulties coping, remember that there are many 24 hour help lines available including LifeLine and Beyond Blue’s 24 hour helpline"  Tweddle will be closed over the festive period from Friday 20th December and reopen on January 6th 2014. We wish you and your family a happy and safe Christmas and New Year.

Parentline 1300 301 300  8am-10pm 7 days
Lifeline 13 11 14
     24 hours
Mensline 1300 78 99 78   24 hours
Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636   24 hours

Back to news

Join Mailing List

Join our mailing list and stay up-to-date with the Tweddle Child + Family Health Service:

All fields are required