How to Manage Difficult Emotions During the Festive Period

How to Manage Difficult Emotions During the Festive Period

The Festive Season is a busy time of the year that can be both joyful and overwhelming. Social gatherings, presents, shopping, cooking, decorating, preparing. All of these things plus the more than usual contact with family and friends can elicit difficult emotions and some personal clashes, especially where there are already tense relationships. Christmas time may also bring feelings related to isolation and loneliness. In fact, one in three Australians report to feel lonely during the Festive Season. If this is familiar to you or you can identify this situation in someone you love or care for, know that there are a number of things you can do to make it more manageable.

If you are the person struggling:

  • Reach out. Talk to someone about how you feel.
  • Join a community organised events: carols, shows, displays.
  • Take time to stay connected with your feelings and validate them. Maybe you don’t particularly enjoy Christmas for a reason. Try to identify why this is.
  • Do more of the things you do enjoy. Music, reading, cooking, crafting, dancing, praying, gardening, walking…
  • Call an old friend or write them a card.
  • Set goals for the new year and stay positive.

If your strong feelings are associated to dark thoughts and they are persistent, call one of these numbers for professional support:

  • Lifeline telephone counselling (24 hrs) – 13 11 14
  • Kids Helpline (24 hrs) – 1800 55 1800
  • Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467
  • Beyond blue – 1300 224 363

If you are around someone who is not travelling well during Christmas:

  • Encourage them to join events and gatherings without forcing them. Respecting their time and space is important.
  • Be kind. Small gestures mean a lot and show you care.
  • Engage in their favourite activity with them
  • Cook them something delicious that will make them smile.
  • And if you are really concerned, contact one of the help lines above to get some professional advice on how to support the people you care about.


This blog was written by Vida Psychologist Katerina Chin-a-loy. To learn more about Katerina, click here, or to book an appointment click here.

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