Post-Christmas anxiety: what it is and how to deal with it

We usually associate Christmas with a special time that is somewhat disconnected from the pace and dynamics we experience the rest of the year. A few days which, even for many non-religious people, mean conciliation, love, and in general, what predominates in calm contexts.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that it’s relatively common to suffer anxiety problems during the days and weeks after the Christmas holidays. In this article, we will explore its features, possible causes, and what to do about it.

    What is post-Christmas anxiety?

    Post-Christmas anxiety consists of an excess of anxiety facilitated by the passage of the holiday season from the Christmas holidays to the return to the routine. This rapid change from one situation to another is difficult for some people to manage, who have failed to “tune” their coping skills and prepare for a faster and more competitive pace of life.

    In any case, post-Christmas anxiety it is not in itself a psychopathological alteration, And therefore does not appear in diagnostic manuals. However, it can be a form of discomfort severe enough to require professional help.

    How to recognize this problem?

    Anxiety after Christmas expresses itself through the typical symptoms of anxiety when it reaches excessively high levels for the person (Since some degree of anxiety is not problematic and is actually a natural occurrence in any healthy human being). The most common are:

    • Sleep problems
    • Difficulty concentrating on tasks
    • Irritability and a tendency to feel frustrated
    • Muscle tension higher than normal
    • Headache
    • Tendency to focus the mind on pessimistic forecasts of what will happen
    • Constant feeling of fatigue
    • Tendency to feel dizzy
    • General discomfort and muscle discomfort
    • Increased heart rate
    • Perform repetitive movements to deal with stress (biting your nails, pulling your hair, etc.).

    These symptoms come and go, occurring relatively frequently depending on the situations the person is exposed to and the memories and thoughts that cross their mind.

    The causes of this phenomenon

    These are some of the factors that lead to the onset of anxiety after Christmas.

    1. Return to work requirements

    Then Christmas already there is no such contagious tendency to be understanding and accommodating with others; this is particularly visible in the workplace.

    2. Feeling of guilt over spending

    After Christmas, the psychological effects of the marketing campaigns carried out on these dates disappear and comes the objective reality of the money spent on groceries and food. Realizing this can be an emotional blow.

    3. Problems at the end of the month

    To the above, we must add the problems that many people face in spending the month with the money available in the bank account, that is, practical efforts to save.

    4. Discomfort associated with changing eating habits

    After spending a few days of heavy and prolonged meals, discomfort can occur ranging from physical to emotional (a poor diet promotes inflammatory processes, and these, problems related to anxiety and depression). In addition, psychologically too it can be difficult to switch from family meals that last for several hours to a situation where you have half an hour to prepare something for the work day.

    What to do?

    Post-Christmas anxiety usually does not degenerate into psychological disturbances and, in most cases, goes away on its own within a few weeks. however, sometimes it is advisable to have psychotherapeutic support to quickly adapt to the new situation and develop the necessary skills for managing emotions. On the other hand, if the discomfort lasts too long, it may indicate that there is a type of psychological disorder that must be addressed during the consultation with the psychologist before it becomes chronic.

    Would you like to benefit from professional psychological assistance?

    If you are looking for psychotherapy services to overcome or better cope with a type of emotional distress that affects you in your daily life, contact us. Fr Psychomaster we care for people of all ages and offer therapy both individually and for families and couples. Sessions can be in person at our center located in Madrid, or online via video call.

    Bibliographical references:

    • Davison GC (2008). Abnormal psychology. Toronto: Veronica Visentin.
    • Peiró, JM (1993). Triggers of stress at work. Madrid: Eudema.
    • Persson, PB and Zakrisson, A. (2016): Stress. Acta Physiologica, 216 (2): pages 149 to 152.
    • Segerstrom, SC; Miller, GE (2017). Psychological Stress and the Human Immune System: A Meta-Analytical Study of 30 Years of Research. Psychological bulletin. 130 (4): pages 601 to 630.
    • Sylvers, P .; Lilienfeld, SO; LaPrairie, JL (2011). Differences between fear and anxiety about traits: implications for psychopathology. Journal of clinical psychology. 31 (1): pages 122 to 137.

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