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Anxiety and longing, the other side of Christmas

Expected by some, feared by others, Christmas is the time of the year that can cause the most emotional wear and tear, with longing and anxiety often being the protagonists. How can we deal with this?

Anxiety and longing, the other side of Christmas

Photo provided by Vithas

Christmas is full of joy, time with family and friends and celebrations, although sometimes it is quite the opposite: the famous “white depression”, the anxiety about the holidays or the “empty chair syndrome” are realities that many face year after year.

Is there a way out of all this? What can we do to face the holidays from another perspective?

Christmas with health and without worries

According to World Health Organization, 40% of the population suffers from depression, anxiety or sadness at Christmas. So much so that it has been named: white depression.

On the other hand, according to the study “Cigna Well-Being 360”, almost 22% of the Spanish population do not care much about their health and do not follow a healthy diet or a good exercise and rest routine.

Passotism for health, both physical and mental, also takes its toll during Christmas, a time of year that is already delicate in itself.

And it is that anxiety, excesses and everything that derives from them are, on many occasions, major protagonists on these dates.

When someone is missing…

To this is added the so-called “empty chair syndrome“: at family gatherings it is inevitable that memories and anecdotes arise linked to loved ones who are no longer there.

Adrián Delgado, health psychologist at the hospital Vithas Tenerifeexplains the mistake we usually make given the situation.

“When we lose a loved one and try to keep ourselves busy so as not to think or remember it, we tend to repress internal states, which makes it difficult to assimilate what has happened and the new reality to which we have to adapt “adapt”, assures the expert.

Not feeling or thinking is not an option in case of loss.

Christmas Europe
EFE/Andy Rain

Reverse the situation?

How can we change the turns? The recommendations will depend on the starting situation.

From swan a series of general guidelines are provided to face Christmas in the best way:

  • Take stock of the year and create goals for the next one. Being aware of what happens to us is essential to face our day to day in a healthy way. In addition, creating goals helps us to order our life, set goals, achieve them.
  • Put order to the Christmas appointments. Shopping, social gatherings or traveling can create anxiety and stress. Organizing with time and order is essential.
  • Eat and drink wisely. Bloating, acidity, reflux, digestion problems… You can avoid them if you eat in moderation and also incorporate other foods into your diet (legumes, fruit, vegetables). On the other hand, we should avoid alcohol or reduce its intake, especially if we feel discouraged, as it can make the situation worse
  • sport. It helps to relax, sleep better, lower blood pressure, etc. Incorporate sport into the festivities and bet on physical and mental health!
  • Buy in moderation. Economic effort is a reason for stress. Do a good forecast and set budgets for gifts and meals so you don’t end up in the red.
  • Solidarity and food waste. Don’t waste food. According to estimates of the UN, almost a third of the food produced is thrown away every year. Don’t fall into food waste Offer it to someone who needs it if you have leftovers! Helping others reduces depression, anxiety, strengthens bonds and awakens in us a sense of happiness and gratitude.

And in case of loss?

It is clear that, beyond these simple guidelines provided by Cigna to deal with Christmas, Adrián Delgado contemplates the context of the loss and related anxiety and depression. How to deal with it during the holidays?

“The most appropriate thing is to allow yourself to remember this special person and even share the memories, if you so wish, with other loved ones”, he indicates.

Accepting emotions, releasing them without letting them control us, and sharing them with our family members is essential to overcoming a loss.

Gratitude as the key

Another of the practices that can make a difference is that proposed by the coach and personal development expert, Maria Fernandez: gratitude

“When we feel grateful for what surrounds us, we automatically inhibit any kind of negative feeling”, explains the expert.

For this reason, the coach advocates writing one list of actions for which to give thanks in an honest and intimate way. Incorporating this type of practice, not only during Christmas, but daily, makes us aware of our situation, our fortune.

Be that as it may, the point is to find among the different tips the formula to enjoy the holidays.

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