Dialog Box

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18 December 2017

Is Christmas a stressful time for you?

Many of us need to make decisions about how we spend Christmas Day or the Christmas period. This can be a source of stress, depending on our particular circumstances and experiences.

  • Where do you spend Christmas day? How far will you need to travel?
  • Who will you spend the day with? Who will you invite to your home?
  • How do you juggle the needs of your family and your extended family?
  • How do you manage the needs of children and adults in a family that has experienced separation and divorce?
  • How will you cope with tensions and conflict in family relationships?
  • How will you bear the absence of loved ones who have died, or who are missing for other reasons?
  • How do you cope with feelings of loneliness and isolation?

Then there are decisions about what you need to do.

  • Do you need to shop? What should you buy? How much should you spend? Do you need to talk to your family about making changes to gift giving?
  • What food will you need to buy? What do you need to do to get the house and garden ready?
  • How will you fit in end of year commitments for work or school or social groups or church groups?

What you say to yourself affects how you feel, and how you feel affects how you behave. So you can ask yourself: 

“What is beyond my control? What is within my control?”

And you can say to yourself: 

“I have responsibilities at Christmas time, BUT I can be realistic about how much time, money or energy I have to spend and I can make choices.”

“I cannot control the behaviour of other people who create conflict, BUT I can control my response to these people. I can control how I speak to them and about them and how I behave towards them.”

“I feel stressed BUT I can find a way to minimise stress and remind myself what Christmas is about. I can decide how I want people around me to remember this Christmas.”

Find out more about CatholicCare counselling for individuals, couples and families or our Post Separation Parenting programs.

This article was written by Carmel Sparkes, CatholicCare Family Counsellor and was first published in Catholic Life: publication of the Diocese of Sale, Issue 202, December 2017. 

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