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5 ways to fend off festive anxiety

The holiday season is supposed to be a joyful time full of celebrations with family and friends. But for many people, "the most wonderful time of year" brings holiday stress and anxiety.



Whether it’s the financial strain that accompanies gift buying, the cold and dark winter nights, or for some, the reality of spending Christmas alone, there can be a number of triggers for increased stress and anxiety during the holiday season.

It’s important to recognise that if you’re struggling over the festive period, you are far from alone. A survey from YouGov found that a quarter of people say Christmas makes their mental health worsei In fact, the survey revealed that over two in five Brits have felt stressed during the festive season, while about one in four has struggled with anxiety.i

If you find Christmas a difficult time of year, here are 5 tips and resources to help you cope and fend off festive anxiety.


  • Focus on the positives. Avoid dwelling on what you cannot control and focus on the things you can. If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, taking stock of what you’re grateful for might not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, research shows that keeping a gratitude journal can help improve your mental health.ii Every day, list five things in your life that you are grateful for or happy about – family, friends, perhaps even snow! Focusing on the positives can help to lift your mood and put you on course for a more positive long-term mind set.
  • Avoid unhelpful social comparisons. If we don’t think we measure up to those we see online, it can have a negative impact on our self-esteem. Social media can make this worse, especially among the younger populationiii, leading to feelings of inadequacy, loneliness, fear of missing out and isolation. These feelings are only exacerbated during Christmas when it becomes the focal point of society. Try to limit your exposure to social media over the festive season and instead, focus on spending time with the people you love. Remember: what you see on social media doesn’t always accurately reflect people’s reality.
  • Prioritise time for yourself. Your calendar might be filling up fast but try to put some time aside to look after yourself. Exercise, good diet and plenty of quality sleep are as important at Christmas as at any other time of the year. Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night, find 20 to 30 minutes a day to exercise, and stick to foods that love your body back.iv These small mood-boosting activities can help keep your mind fresh and focused – and better equipped to deal with any stress that might be around the corner.
  • Don’t force yourself. Christmas can be a difficult time; we can feel the pressure and expectations to do certain things or see certain people. If you're feeling low, exhausted, stressed, or anxious, don’t force yourself to do something that you worry might make you feel worse. For example, don’t be afraid to turn down party invitations to catch up on sleep and relaxation. Ask yourself, will it bring me joy? If the answer is no, focus your time and energy elsewhere.
  • Take time to talk. If you’re struggling, sharing your worries with a trusted family member or friend can make them seem less daunting and help you realise you’re not alone. If you cannot speak to someone you know or if doing so has not helped, there are plenty of helplines you can try instead. Anxiety UK offers support, advice, and information on a range of anxiety, stress and anxiety-based depression conditions. For assistance today, call their helpline on 03444 775 774.


For those looking for additional support, you may also benefit from the use of a traditional herbal remedy. Kalms Lavender is a traditional herbal medicinal product used for the temporary relief of mild anxiety. Lavender oil has a long-standing association with relieving symptoms of mild anxiety such as stress and nervousness.v Comes in a convenient one-a-day soft capsule. Shop now here.



i How does Christmas impact people's mental health? | YouGov

ii How a Gratitude Journal Can Support Your Mental Health (

iii Problematic Social Media Use in Adolescents and Young Adults: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis - PMC (

iv The Connection Between Diet, Exercise, and Sleep | Sleep Foundation

v Effects of lavender on anxiety: A systematic review and meta-analysis - ScienceDirect

14th December 2023

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