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12 hacks to beat the Christmas blues

A psychotherapist has published a new guide to help people stay calmer and more relaxed during the Christmas and New Year period.

The 12 Anxiety Hacks of Christmas has been launched to help a rise of anxiety and depression in the UK, which experts claim has been exacerbated by cost-of-living and rising debt.

Kate Hudson-Hall, psychotherapist and author, says: “Christmas is traditionally a time of goodwill, celebration and relaxation, but this year the occasion is building into an anxiety-fuelled mix of worry over financial security and mental strain.”

Recent NHS data indicates a 21.5% rise in the number of people accessing ‘talking-therapies’ to help with conditions ranging from anxiety and eating disorders, through to depression and even suicidal thoughts. In addition, the latest figures from HSE show the total time lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety was 17 million days over 2021/22.

As well as being an anxiety specialist, Kate also suffered from anxiety and bulimia herself before overcoming the illnesses.

She continued: “This year, many people are unable to afford everyday essentials or gain access to their GP and A&E owing to long waiting times.  As a result, anxiety and stress is foremost in many people’s minds as they worry about the realities of ‘delivering’ Christmas, while not having enough money to afford gifts, food and bills, all of which can lead to long-term mental health issues.”

Below are a few snapshots of the hacks that Kate has offered to help manage worries.

  1. Cost-of-living hack

If you’re anxious about rising energy bills, gifts, food, fuel and entertainment your first Anxiety Hack is learning how to calm yourself instantly using breathing and following the ‘Breathe, Not Seethe Technique’. – take one deep breath in through the nose to the count of four, down into your stomach, hold your breath for a count of eight and then breathe out through your mouth to the count of eight. When breathing out, purse your lips and gently blow. Repeat this two more times.

  1. Preparations for Christmas hack

There’s so much to do – buying gifts, decorating, planning meals, and attending Christmas parties. The pressure and anxiety builds, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Calm your anxious thoughts with the powerful ‘For Your Eyes Only Technique.’

If you are at an event, party, work, or anywhere else you feel super anxious – identify your stressful, anxious thought or feeling. Tune in and become aware of the recurring thought, feeling, image, or memory that’s intensifying your anxiety then, keeping your head still, quickly move your eyes back and forth between twenty times while focusing on your anxiety, then tell yourself to “let go.” Relax your shoulders and allow the anxiety to drain from the top of your head down and out of your feet.

  1. Acupressure the family blues away hack

Christmas should be a time that’s ideal for happy families, but not if you don’t like them. If you find yourself experiencing discomfort, pain or anxiety in the presence of an unwelcome uncle stimulating pressure points in your body can help.

The webbing between your thumb and index finger is where you’ll find a pressure point that will help you relieve stress, anxiety, headaches and neck pain. Firmly press the webbing between your other hand’s thumb and index finger. Take calm, deep breaths while massaging the pressure point for four to five seconds. Then repeat until your stressful feelings subside.

The full list of hacks can also be found here: