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Stress & Christmas - Tips for coping

The Christmas season can be a time of joy but it can also bring stress and can come with high expectations. Increased stress levels for those living with arthritis can also increase pain, so it is wise to think ahead and put in place ways to shake off those feelings of stress in advance. Here are a few ideas:

Think ahead to avoid financial stress – plan your budget, discuss gift giving with your family and organise low cost ways to socialise e.g. everyone bring a dish to events.

There are so many great ways to keep in touch with family and friends such as Facebook, Skype, Facetime, email or even a simple phone call which can help keep you connected to family and friends during the festive season. If this is not possible, why not consider volunteering or attending a community event.

Pace your activities – it can be easy to be caught up in all the demands of the Christmas season which can aggravate your symptoms, so make sure you communicate clearly what you can and can’t manage. Try your best to stick to it!

Here is a simple meditation you or your family can try: Close your eyes and imagine you are sitting next to a huge Christmas tree. The tree has lots of coloured lights – each one is a feeling or present that you can give to someone to make them smile. Visualise in your mind giving that coloured light to a person you know and how happy this makes them feel.

If holiday season stress is getting too much for you and you need support, call beyondblue, 1300 22 4636, or lifeline, 13 11 14, to talk things through.