The holiday season can bring mixed emotions for many. For some, it’s their favourite time of year. For others, it brings feelings of sadness and loss. Seeing old friends and family members may be exciting or may bring up memories of disappointments. Feeling depressed or anxious is not unusual during the holiday season. Upcoming dinners, parties, and other family or friend gatherings may cause a great deal of stress.
MyClinic has come up with our Top Tips to survive the Holiday Season.
Don’t forget to ask for help if you feel over-burdened, stressed,or simply are not coping.
IT IS OK NOT TO BE OK!
IT IS OK TO SAY NO!
PLAN & STICK TO YOUR BUDGET TO AVOID LAVISH SPENDING.
Budgeting is a skill that anyone can learn. The more you do it, the easier it will be to stay on top of your money.
In 2016, Australian households spent $666 billion on general living costs, including:
- $12.6 billion a year on meat versus $2.6 billion a year on seafood
- $14.9 billion a year on alcohol versus $1.6 billion a year on tea and coffee
- $65.8 billion a year on cars versus $2.7 billion a year on public transport
- $20.5 billion a year on brains versus $7.1 billion a year on beauty
- $80.3 billion a year on recreation versus $38.5 billion a year on medical
- $20.4 billion a year on fashion versus $2.7 billion a year on gadgets
- $13.4 billion a year on personal care versus $0.45 billion a year on pet pampering.
The average household is estimated to have spent $74,301 on general household living costs in 2016.
SET A LIMIT TO YOUR EXPENSES.
According to MoneySmart, Australians plan to spend an average of $955 over the holiday season, but end up with an average post-Christmas credit card debt of $1666 – with most of us spending well over $500 on Christmas gifts alone. Christmas is a wonderful time of year – but not for your finances.
DO NOT OVER-SHOP TO AVOID UNNECESSARY EXPENSES & STRESS.
The trick here is to go for thoughtful and personal rather than expensive and mindless. Set a strict limit on how much you’ll spend on each gift recipient. Just as importantly, cut down on how many people you buy presents for this year. Shopping online can often get you a better deal (and make it easier to track down a hard-to-get item), but make sure you order what you need well ahead of time to allow for delays in delivery. Make some of this year’s gifts instead of buying them. If you have the barest minimum of craft skills, cooking ability or artistic flair, see if you can create some presents for those you love. Biscuits, decorative fruit baskets, homemade candles, handmade jewellery and other creative gifts will cost you more in time but less in cash – and the recipients will adore them.
AVOID COOKING TO STAY AT EASE & CELEBRATE THE OCCASION.
One of the cheapest ways to trim your Christmas food budget is to go out for a Christmas buffet instead of cooking it all yourself.
You could even see if one of your relatives would like to take over culinary responsibilities this time.
PRACTICE RELAXATION TECHNIQUES TO STAY CALM & HAPPY.
Relaxation can help to relieve the symptoms of stress. It can help you calm down and take a step back from a stressful situation. Relaxation techniques usually start with focusing on your breathing. The way to do it is to breathe in and out slowly and in a regular rhythm as this will help you to calm down:
- Fill up the whole of your lungs with air, without forcing. Imagine you’re filling up a bottle, so that your lungs fill from the bottom.
- Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
- Breathe in slowly and regularly counting from one to five (don’t worry if you can’t reach five at first).
- Then let the breath escape slowly, counting from one to five.
- Keep doing this until you feel calm. Breathe without pausing or holding your breath.
AVOID INDULGING IN EXCESSIVE DRINKING TO CONTROL ITS DANGEROUS EFFECTS.
Australia’s alcohol consumption triples over the Christmas period. Even people who don’t drink much at other times of year get into the ‘season to be jolly’ spirit over Christmas and New Year.
FOLLOW YOUR DAILY EXERCISE ROUTINE TO STAY IN GOOD MOOD & SPIRIT.
Motivation levels fluctuate in everyone; even exercise fanatics find it hard to get motivated from time to time. If you think too much about the pros and cons of exercising, you may well talk yourself out of it. Just do it! Try keeping a training diary – simply taking the time to recognise these little improvements to your daily quality of life can increase your motivation to exercise.
MAINTAIN A HEALTHY SLEEPING PATTERN.
Different people need different amounts of sleep. Eight and a quarter hour is the average for adults. Some people can cope very well with much less and some need much more every night. Keep regular times for going to bed and getting up. Relax for an hour before bed and avoid going to bed with a full or empty stomach.
DO NOT STAY IN ISOLATION.
Isolation is being separated from other people and your environment. Sometimes this occurs through decisions we make ourselves, or because of circumstance. Everyone feels lonely from time to time, but long periods of loneliness or social isolation can have a negative impact on your physical, mental and social health. Loneliness can be overcome. Connect or reconnect with friends and family, get out and about, get involved in your community, volunteer and get support. If loneliness and social isolation are causing you distress, you should discuss your concerns with a GP, counsellor or a trusted person.
KEEP STRESS AT BAY BY DELEGATING TASKS TO OTHERS, WHEN OVERBURDENED.
Not dissimilar to how you might manage your workload, managing Christmas is about delegating different jobs to different family members, so that no one person is responsible for everything.
KEEP MEDICATIONS IN STOCK AND EMERGENCY NUMBERS HANDY.
The more medicines you take, the more difficult it can be to remember important information about them. A medicines list can be a useful way to keep all the information about your medicines together. You can keep a medicines list in two ways:
- using the MedicineWise smartphone app, so your medicine list is always with you in your phone
- writing a paper medicines list and keeping it with you in your wallet or handbag. Keep it up to date and carry it with you when you see your health professionals.
Book in to see your GP to ensure you have scripts to last you over the Christmas period. Your GP can also print you a medication list to help you remember what to take and when.
Where to get help:
- In an emergency, Police/Fire/Ambulance: 000
- SES assistance in floods and storms: 132 500
- Your GP (click for more details):
- Nearest Emergency Department (click for more details):
- Werribee Mercy Hospital 24 hrs
- Sunshine Hospital 24hrs
- Footscray Hospital 24 hrs
- Williamstown Hospital 8am – 11pm
- Ballarat Base Hospital 24hrs
- Royal Children’s Hospital 24hrs
- Royal Women’s Hospital 24hrs
- Royal Melbourne Hospital 24hrs
- St Vincent 24hr
- Royal Vic Eye & Ear 24hrs
- Northern Hospital 24hrs
- Epworth Richmond 24hrs
- The Alfred 24hrs
- Monash Medical 24 hrs
- Dandenong Hospital 24hrs
- Box Hill Hospital 24hrs
- The Austin 24hrs
- Nurse on Call: 1800 022 222
- Non-Urgent Assistance: 1800 022 222
- Pregnancy, Birth & Baby Concerns: 1800 882 436
- Mental Health Helplines:
- Lifeline 13 11 14
- Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
- MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78
- Beyond Blue Support Service (available 27/4) 1300 22 4636
- Beyond Blue Online Chat (3pm – 12am)
- Headspace 1800 650 890
- Kids helpline 1800 55 1800
- Head to Health
- MindSpot Clinic 1800 61 44 34
- National Aboriginal Community Controlled health organisation
- QLife 1800 184 527
- Relationships Australia 1300 364 277
- SANE Australia 1800 18 7263
Apps available include:
Call the right number with the right information. Helps you choose the right assistance number and give GPS locations from your smartphone.
The VicEmergency app aligns with the VicEmergency website to provide a centralised location for Victorians to access timely emergency information and warnings. The app includes warnings and incident notifications for fire, flood, storm, earthquake, tsunami, weather warnings, shark sightings, beach closures and more.
Children can learn about what happens when you call Triple Zero.
Helps you manage your medicines on your smartphone.
Keep track of medicines and access important health info anytime and anywhere, especially in emergencies.
- How to Budget
- Aus Christmas Spending
- Celebrate on a Budget
- Reduce your stress at Christmas
- Relaxation Techniques for Stress
- Staying Motivated to Exercise
- Good Sleeping Habits
- Tips for Healthy Sleep
- LifeLine – Loneliness
- Beyond Blue – Coping at Christmas
- Health Direct – Tips for Good Mental Health
- NPS – Keeping a Medicine List
- Head to Health
- Black Dog Institute – Support
- Suicide Call Back Service
- Emergency +
- Triple Zero Kids’ Challenge
- MedicineWise smartphone app