Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Prof Ewan Gillon: How to combat the pressure of having the ‘perfect Christmas’

Professor Ewan Gillon
Professor Ewan Gillon

The festive season may bring with it the joys of good food, gift-giving, and spending time with the family but it is also a time where many people feel stressed and under pressure to have the ‘perfect Christmas’.

From cooking Christmas dinner to spending time with the extended family, not to mention the financial burden of buying Christmas presents, it isn’t surprising that it’s a stressful time of the year for many.

Bringing families and different personalities together at Christmas can be a source of anxiety for some, and arguments and fall-outs are common, especially when alcohol is involved!

However, by trying to avoid conflict and calming the situation down if any arguments do arise, we can have a Christmas that the whole family enjoy.

While most of us tend to drink alcohol in celebration at Christmas, excessive consumption is likely to cause confrontation as emotions are already heightened. Not only can alcohol be the cause of friction between families, it can also damage the bank balance so instead of stocking the fridge full, why not reduce the amount of alcohol you have available during Christmas?

Keep it fun! Try to create a relaxed atmosphere. Why not play a family board game or dig out the old karaoke machine? By making sure everyone is feeling relaxed and in high-spirits, you are minimising the risk of tension and arguments erupting.

Learn to say no. Families will be together for extended periods of time which for many is a rarity and this can cause a great deal of friction. Are there clashes of personality within your family? Is there someone in your extended family who you don’t get along with? Communicate with your partner and decide who you would like to spend Christmas with, and don’t invite anyone who you think will be a source of anxiety for you.

Not all personality types are going to get along all of the time – many of us have different values and points of view to others, including people in our own family. Personality clashes are more likely to happen when a dominant personality type believes everyone else should agree with them. However, we can avoid these clashes by accepting the other person for who they are, even if we don’t agree with their principles or actions. By doing this, we can develop ways of coping around them.

Christmas should be a time of joy and relaxing, however, there is often one person in the family who takes on too many tasks. Do you find yourself stressing out over the cooking and cleaning? There’s no reason why tasks can’t be shared out amongst the entire family!

Draft family members in to help with the cooking and if you have been cooking all day, delegate the dishes to someone else to give yourself a well-deserved break. This will help ease your stress and encourage you to enjoy the time you’re spending with your family, rather than on what task you need to do next.

Take some space. If the situation is becoming heated and you feel your temper rising, try to calmly create some space so that you can cool off. Go for a walk or take some time for yourself in another room. This will help defuse the situation by allowing you to clear your head and think about the issue from the other person’s perspective.

However, it isn’t just Christmas Day which can be a source of stress. The festive period is a time of increased spending, from keeping the kids entertained and buying presents for loved ones to stocking the kitchen and paying increased heating bills. The financial burden can be huge for some, meaning that the build-up to Christmas is a source of stress and anxiety.

Rather than shouldering all of the financial burden, why not invite guests to bring certain items of food and drink? Not only will this help alleviate the bank balance, but it will also reduce your time in the kitchen!

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for professional help with your relationships – some problems are easier to address with the guidance of a neutral, professional party that can help you discuss issues in a controlled manner.

Professor Ewan Gillon,chartered psychologist and clinical director of First Psychology Aberdeen.