Photo: Jamie Small, Central West Health Regional Adversity Integrated Care Clinician (Psychologist)

For some people, Christmas can be stressful.

The Christmas holidays are a happy and joyful occasion for most people but for some it can be a worrying and even depressing time.

Central West Hospital and Health Service Regional Adversity Coordinator Jamie Small said the expense of gifts and food, the pressure of shopping and the expectations of the festive season could make Christmas an extremely stressful time.

“Unfortunately, some people find themselves alone at Christmas, leading to feelings of isolation and depression and even those who spend Christmas with family and friends can experience negative feelings,’’ he said.

“Hosting events and worrying about all the arrangements and expectations can end up making the festive season very stressful and busy.”

Mr Small said this time of year could stir up many emotions in people and it was important for family and friends to be on the lookout for each other.

“If someone has experienced relationship issues or financial pressures, this tends to the time of year when emotions can boil over,’’ he said.

“This is actually a time of need for many in our community. We all need to support each other to help cope with the pressure of the holidays.

“Something as simple as a phone call to a relative or friend to let them know they have support could mean a world of difference to that person.”

Mr Small said people should learn to recognise the early signs of stress and act on them to prevent further stress and anxiety.

“It’s very useful for people to understand the impact stress can have on their lives and learn ways to reduce stress levels and manage stressful situations,” he said.

“Setting up a ‘to-do’ list to help you feel organised is a useful tool during the busy festive season.’’

Mr Small said he made an effort to stay on top of his health over the Christmas period to reduce his stress levels.

“I find I’m less stressed when I’m active and healthy, so over the Christmas period I make an effort to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables and get regular exercise,’’ he said.

  • For mental health support 24/7 phone 1300 MH CALL (1300 64 2255).
  • Or call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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