Five ways to cope with Christmas

23 December 2017 - 11:39 By Katharine Child
For some‚ the holidays are when people feel most alone. “If you are struggling‚ call the Sadag's helpline at 0800 60 7080
For some‚ the holidays are when people feel most alone. “If you are struggling‚ call the Sadag's helpline at 0800 60 7080 
Image: marctran/123RF

Christmas can be lonely‚ overwhelming and stressful.

Here are five ways to cope:

Remember Instagram and Facebook shots are just a reel of the highlights

South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) spokesperson Dessy Tzoneva said people can feel overwhelmed by everyone's perfect lives as seen on social media. Tzoneva said: “People spend ages getting the perfect photo and when you see your those pics you must remember‚ it is not all real. You only see the highlights. "We all want to believe in perfection. But nothing is 100%."

Have realistic expectations of holidays

Christmas time can be special‚ but families are difficult and can be a source of stress. "Hollywood stories create unreasonable expectations of the ideal family which may make people resentful or heighten the tension or conflicts between family members if their families don't quite match up‚" according to Sadag. "There's this vision and movie idea that holiday gatherings with family are supposed to be all fun and stress-free‚" said Johannesburg-based psychologist Christo van der Westhuizen "In an ideal world‚ we’d be friends with everyone and everyone would be friends with us. But in the real world‚ we get into disagreements or sometimes huge arguments with others we care about." By setting realistic expectations‚ you are less likely to land up being disappointed.

Say no

Tzoneva‚ Sadag spokesperson‚ said: "Leave the party or event when you need to. Have boundaries. Say ‘no’ if you don't want another drink. Look after yourself and get enough sleep. “It is easy to be steamrolled by relatives into events." But you do have a say and the key to surviving the holidays is to take back some control instead of giving it all away. Tzoneva said: "You don't have to give into all the pressure to spend. Try to keep some perspective."

Remember the Christmas/New Year holiday period is just a week or two

Tzoneva said: If something overwhelms a person‚ if it feels too much‚ keep in mind and remind yourself it is one or two weeks.” This too shall pass and go by quickly as many weeks do‚ said Tzoneva. "The holidays‚ luckily some would say‚ only come once a year and last for a few short weeks. But you have to take the first step and be cautious during the next few weeks to keep these tips close at hand. Follow even just a few of them‚ and you’ll find yourself having a happier Christmas‚" reads a Sadag media release.

Ask for help

For some‚ the holidays are when people feel most alone. “If you are struggling‚ give us a call‚” said Tzoneva.

Call Sadag's helpline at 0800 60 7080 

X