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Feeling end of year strain? Talk to us.


When we reach the end of December, very often we feel overwhelmed. The daily stresses are compounded by the rush to fit in a surge of social events, shopping and feasting, and to start the new year with some form of inbox zero. For others this time of year may be more silent and reflective - thinking about goals, resolutions, memories, hopes, and expectations. During this time it can be easy to indulge a little too much in festive treats in a bid to distract yourself from the rising tide of stress or retreat from the world. Social media can often contribute greatly to these feelings as it can seemingly make the holidays competitive. Add in strained family relationships, separation from loved ones due to border closures, or feelings of being left out due to social gathering restrictions and you realize how common and usual it is to feel on edge.

However the holidays find you, it can usually be helpful to have a little support, someone to talk to. Our counsellors understand the myriad of complex emotions that come with hosting the in-laws, the pressure to find the perfect present, stretching budgets when money is already tight, putting on brave faces for children, handling increased workloads, and typically all while facing greater-than-ever sleep deprivation.

Dr. Kristina Burgetova, our clinical psychologist, shares her top tips for getting through the holidays:

Slow down
We can often feel burdened by the endless to-do list that ‘just has to get done’. Be kind to yourself and remove a few items from this list. It doesn’t matter if not everyone has matching clothes for a end of year photo, or the food doesn’t look like it’s from a glamorous magazine, or not every gift is perfectly sourced, wrapped, and delivered before Christmas Day. In the long run, the memories that boost our mental health and stay with us are generally the more perfectly imperfect ones - laughter over forgotten ingredients or dishes or sitting with a cup of tea for a quiet catch up.

Focus on yourself too
Whether we have a lot of plans or what feels like no plans, we might spend a lot of time thinking about the others around us. We plan and cook and host and clean with thoughts of others’ enjoyment or we anxiously observe others around us who seem to be doing everything we wish we were doing. Self-care is most important during these times, whether it’s treating yourself, taking a break, or saying no, we can be our best ally during these stressful times.

Find a healthy outlet to relieve your stress
As temptations soar, it’s important to understand that what we feed ourselves has a great impact on our mental wellbeing. Late nights, party food, and skipped routines all play a role in how we are feeling. Balance out the festivities with time spent outdoors, being active, checking in with yourself, or reaching out to one of our counsellors.

We all end 2021 with a sense of anticipation about what the new year may bring. Whether you feel uncertainty, concern, peace, or hope, we would like to remind all our clients that this is a great season to prioritise you.