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There are those of us that love and relish the holidays and those of us that dread the pit of anxiety that builds and looms, each major festive season.
No matter which camp you fall in, here are the six ways to maximise your happiness and minimise your anxiety this Easter.
Forget the postcard families bonding over a perfect meal, religious ceremony and remember in the real world, no family is perfect.
Relationships Australia NSW’s Clinical Director Elisabeth Shaw warns that striving for perfection brings up all sorts of issues from family, anxiety and sobriety to eating disorders.
“The notion of a traditional household is constantly being turned on its head. Try and accept your own family unit ‘warts and all’ and don’t put too much pressure on yourself to compare to how you perceive others.”
Aside from the breakdown of some family units, in the reality of living in this global village, chances are your family unit may be separated by distance and you find yourself alone.
But remember, you’re never alone in being alone.
Call a friend, chances are some of them may be in similar situations and readily available to share a meal or even invite you to join their plans.
Every psychologist professes to the benefit of exercise to boost your mood. All those endorphins waiting to be released in just thirty minutes, a couple of times a week.
Use your time off work to get some exercise. See an exhibition that appeals to you but you never thought you’d get to or just go for a spontaneous stroll in an area with fresh air, a nice view and maybe an open coffee shop at the end!
If the thought of all the above does nothing to abate your anxiety, try coming up with a new tradition.
Plan a trip on your own, or with family and friends and make it an annual event. Costs can be kept down by making it a road trip, staying with friends at the destination or even doing a house swap with someone you know like you, who’d also love the chance to get away for a few days this time of year.
There are also last minute deals offered by airlines and hotels that can take you to a destination you never even considered. Jump online and subscribe to a few websites.
It can be hard in adulthood, to honestly express feelings around holidays that may offend the people we are closest to.
But give yourself permission to put your needs first and make it a stress-free time. Feel free to decline an invitation that makes you feel uncomfortable or that may end in conflict.
Lastly, the great gift of giving is always needed, especially during the holidays and getting involved in a charity will enable you to give something back to the community and meet other volunteers who may even become friends.
Whatever your needs this Easter just remember self-care. Be good to yourself and if you are feeling depressed or anxiety and holiday stress is taking an emotional toll you can call the Relationships Australia NSW on 1300 364 277