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Anxiety at Christmas Time

Ah, the Christmas season. For some, this is a wonderful time of year filled with fun, peace, joy, laughter, optimism, fellowship, family, friends, good food, giving, winter activities, cozy evenings, and fond memories.

The Christmas season also can be a time for stress, anxiety, sadness, frustration, hurry, loneliness, disappointment, overworking, overeating, over drinking, and overspending.

Many people find the Christmas season to be very stressful. There’s shopping, cooking, cleaning, parties, travel, crowds, the onslaught of advertising telling us about everything we “should” have, expectations, positive and negative anticipation, the fear of failure (giving the “wrong” gifts, an unsuccessful party, disappointing food, inappropriate clothes), the pressure from our family and friends about what they “want,” interactions with people we may not always get along with, and the ingestion of sweets, treats, drinks, and extra calories…to name a few.

The stress coming from all of these activities can adversely affect the body and in many ways. Persistent unrelieved stress can cause the body to become stress-response hyperstimulated and then symptomatic. Once the body becomes overly stressed, it can take a long time to recover. So, managing stress is an important ingredient to surviving the Christmas season and not having to enter into a protracted recovery after it’s over.

There is good news, however. Being proactive in your holiday planning can turn an otherwise stressful Christmas season into an enjoyable and memorable one. And one you don’t have to recover from. Here are seven ways to have a happier, less anxious, and less stressed Christmas season.

1. Get plenty of sleep

Sleep is the great refresher. The body does its best repair work when asleep. A reduction in good sleep not only interrupts this important process but also stresses the body. Research has shown that less than six hours sleep per night causes the body’s cortisol levels to rise. Elevated cortisol stresses the body. Elevated stress can make you feel more anxious. So when our sleep is frequently cut short, our physical, psychological, and emotional health can be adversely affected.

To prevent sleep debt and its negative effects, we can plan “sleep-in” days or make time each day for catnaps (or more catnaps) in spite of the many demands and expectations we may have for the Christmas season. Making sure you get regular good sleep during the lead up to and throughout the Christmas season can make a difference in how you will feel physically, psychologically, and emotionally both during and after the Christmas season is over. Getting regular good sleep can also insulate you from a build up of unnecessary stress, which can prevent against the need for a protracted recovery.

Did you know that sleep problems can occur when our sleep schedule frequently changes? Keeping regular sleep hours, in spite of the urge or requests to stay up later, can prevent problems with sleep after the holidays are over.

TIP: Cortisol is the body’s most powerful stress hormone. It causes a number of changes in the body, including increasing stimulation and the perception of danger. Getting regular good sleep can keep cortisol to a minimum, which can reduce the feelings of danger and dread.

Research has shown that getting less than six hours of restful sleep per night can cause cortisol levels to rise 40 percent higher than when getting 6.5 to 8 hours of sleep per night. Maintaining good sleep can go a long way to maintaining a healthy level of cortisol production.

2. Take frequent rest breaks

A great way to minimize the build-up of stress is to take regular rest breaks. Making sure to take time to rest and relax each day can keep your body and mind healthy, especially during busy or pressure-filled times like the Christmas holiday season.

Also, resting for even five minutes here and there throughout the day can be enough to diffuse and offset a build up of stress.

Practicing a daily deep relaxation technique is a great way to diffuse the buildup of stress and keep the body well rested during busy times. Research has shown that deep relaxing for 20 minutes can provide as much rest value has a few hours of sleep. So, making time each day to deeply relax is a small thing you can do to keep yourself healthy during and after the Christmas season.

TIP: Research has shown that regular deep relaxation is a great way to reduce anxiety and stress. Research has also shown that people who regularly deep relax, such as using meditation, have better control over their thinking and emotions than those who don’t. This better control can make a sizable difference when containing anxious behavior.

3. Be sensible about what you eat

It’s easy to get caught up in all of the food choices during the Christmas holiday season. Overeating and eating too much of a “seasonal” favorite are common causes of increased stress – high sugar foods stress the body.

Many people give themselves permission to forget about their diets and celebrate the holidays with eating anything and any time they want. While loosening up a little to feast is healthy, throwing caution to the wind and then paying for it with months of recovery may not be the best choice.

This year rather than overindulging, “sample” and eat less overall. Also, eat slower. Because it takes approximately twenty minutes for the brain to let us know that our stomach is full, when you eat slower, you eat less than someone who eats faster.

Another strategy is to eat a little bit at a time, then give yourself twenty minutes before you eat more. If you do this, you may discover that you don’t need or want as much as you originally thought.

Being selective about what you eat and watching the amount you eat can help prevent the unnecessary stress that comes from undisciplined eating. The more you manage your stress now, the less of an issue it will be after the Christmas season is over.

Again, as stress increases so can the feelings of being anxious increase. Keeping your stress within a healthy range can prevent feeling overly anxious during and after the Christmas season.

4. Be mindful of what you drink

It’s easy to overindulge in what you drink during the Christmas holidays. Even though what we drink is liquid, many drinks are high in raw sugar, calories, and/or alcohol, which stress the body.

Moreover, alcohol is a mood-lowering drug that also adversely affects the body’s nervous system. While you may feel good WHEN you are drinking, your body will experience the negative effects afterwards. Be mindful about what you ingest, because it ALL has an affect on the body, mind, and mood.

TIP: Raw sugar foods (such as soft drinks, sweeteners, and fruit juices) and alcohol punish the body’s nervous system. An agitated nervous system can aggravate the effects of anxiety and stress. Keeping raw sugar foods and alcohol to a minimum can help reduce the negative effects of anxiety and stress, as well as prevent a protracted recovery from the adverse effects of anxiety and stress.

5. Enjoy your holidays moment by moment

Too often, we spend our time in the past (with regret, guilt, resentment, sadness) or the future (imagining the future in an apprehensive manner). When we do this, we convert the treasures in the present moments to the despair of the past events that are often long over or to the angst of future events that may never occur.

Our life experience is derived from how we think about things. As we allow our thoughts to ramble, so plays out our life experience and quality of life.

Learning to be more in the moment is a great way to eek out every joyous moment of the Christmas season. As we savor each joyous moment, we improve the overall quality of our life experience.

Children often spend most of their time in the moment, which is why they are often happier and have more fun. As adults, we want to relearn this approach so that we, too, can have more fun and reduce our stress (it’s stressful being remorseful about the past and apprehensive about the future).

Living in the moment is a great way to discover the present joys in life and experience each one of them to the fullest.

TIP: Mindfulness – being present in the moment – can reduce anxiety, since anxiety occurs when we think about the future in an apprehensive manner. The more time you spend in the present, the less time you’ll spend thinking apprehensively.

6. Reduce your expectations

The majority of stress and pressure come from how we think. Often, it’s our unrealistic expectations (ideas that something should occur or should occur in a certain way) that are at the root of our disappointment and stress. Just because we can imagine something doesn’t mean it “has to” or “should” come true, or come true the way we imagined. Remember, thoughts are just fleeting notions. We don’t have to believe everything we think, nor should we.

Learning to lower or eliminate expectations is not only a great way to reduce stress and frustration but also a simple way to have more fun and enjoyment. If your expectations are realistic, you won’t be disappointed as often, and the things that do occur can be received with joy and thankfulness.

Unrealistic expectations is one of the great saboteurs of happiness and peace of mind. Eliminating expectations is a great way to be pleasantly surprised and pleased with what actually occurs.

7. Do what you like to do

The Christmas season is often filled with things you feel you ‘have to’ or ‘should’ do. Feeling you need to attend a party because you believe someone expects you to, believing you have to attend an event so that others won’t be disappointed, or having to spend time with people you don’t necessarily get along with are examples of doing things because you believe you ‘have to’ rather than what you want to. Most often, doing things we feel we have to creates stress, and for people who are overly anxious, anxiety.

So this season, plan on doing more things you want to do rather than things you feel you have to do. It’s healthy to say ‘no’ to requests or demands you don’t want to fulfill. Spending most of your time doing the things you want to do is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety, and increase joy during the Christmas season. Sure, some people may be upset with your choices, but that’s their issue not yours. You have a right to do the things you want to do. Those who disagree or become upset with your choices are infringing on your rights.

Spending time doing the things you love and want to do is a great way to celebrate the Christmas season and increase the quality of your life experience. This isn’t being selfish but authentic. Having healthy boundaries is essential to living authentically.

TIP: Living with healthy boundaries substantially reduces the anxiety that comes from self-esteem and relationship issues.

All of us at anxietycentre.com wish you and your loved ones a very merry Christmas and New Year season. May it be filled with joy, celebration, and gratitude.

 


The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder coach, counselor, or therapist is the most effective way to address anxiety disorder and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed – the underlying factors that motivate apprehensive behavior – a struggle with anxiety disorder can return again and again. Identifying and successfully addressing anxiety’s underlying factors is the best way to overcome problematic anxiety

Anxiety Counseling, Stress Counseling or Depression counseling in Tampa Fl. or Brandon Fl Call Star Point Counseling Center 813-244-1251

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Christmas Anxiety, Depression & Stress

At Star Point Counseling in Tampa Fl. & Brandon Fl. we can offer stress counseling, depression counseling and anxiety counseling for our clients.  Please call us at 813-244-1251 to set an appointment.

Christmas can be a very stressful time of year.  For many the Christmas holiday period is a mass of complex social interactions with family or relatives, some of whom you may rather not see.

There could well be expectations, or at least perceived expectations, to create a ‘wonderful Christmas’ with presents and perhaps the most important meal of the year.

Some people rate Christmas as being more stressful than divorce or being burgled.  We don’t want to add to the stress and have deliberately avoided putting images of holly, robins, snowmen or anything else Christmassy on this page! Star Point Counseling offers marriage counseling, couples counseling & relationship counseling in Brandon Fl. & Tampa Fl. ( We hope the Christmas stress does not lead to a divorce for you).

Star Point Counseling Center in Tampa Fl. & Brandon Fl. can provide some tips and advice to make your Christmas as stress-free as possible. Don’t let the festive season get you down: follow the tips and advice you find here, relax and enjoy yourself.


Plan Ahead

Start making a list of things you need to do for Christmas early: for example, shopping, food and presents, decorations, seating plans or travel arrangements.  Make the list as detailed as possible, include people’s phone numbers or email addresses to make contacting them simpler.

Try to prioritise the items on your list: can they be done now, and are they essential?  Do not overestimate how much you can achieve on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  Many recipes can, at least in part, be made ahead of time and frozen thus reducing tasks in the immediate run-up to Christmas Day.

Delegate the responsibility for certain tasks to other family members since this will reduce your workload.  Keep your list for next year; it’ll need tweaking and updating but will give you reminders of the sorts of things you need to think about.


Shop Online

Although shopping locally has many advantages, High Street shopping just before Christmas can be particularly stressful,  and with hundreds of other stressed people trying to find the ‘perfect’ gift.

Shop online from the comfort of your own home as you’ll not only save time and be less stressed but will probably save money too.  Always make sure you buy from reputable online retailers and check that they can deliver before the big day.

If you haven’t already tried it, you may be able to do your food shopping online too and have it delivered directly to your door. Remember to book your delivery slot early though as the prime delivery slots may well be booked early.


Christmas Cards

Start writing your Christmas cards early too!

Many people receive and send lots of cards at Christmas time so start in mid-November, if you can, and write a few cards and envelopes each day keeping them to one side before posting or delivering.


Know When to Stop

Decide when you will stop your Christmas preparations and start to relax and enjoy the holiday.  Work towards and try to stick to this goal, even if it is in the late afternoon on Christmas Eve.  Remember that Christmas is your holiday too.

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It costs more to get a divorce then to get marriage counseling!

Does this sound familiar: You look at your spouse and wonder if this is even the same person you married… After all, you fight all the time. You never sleep together. You’re not sure you even love them anymore. You feel like cheating on them or wonder if they have been cheating on you. It’s nothing like it was when you first got marriage and were completely devoted to each other, is it? Should you even try to save a marriage like that?

Absolutely. Too many couples give up and move on to the terrible alternative: divorce. Divorce is no picnic.  Divorce cost more marriage counseling does. You can’t escape the knowledge that you failed in your marriage. Imagine the disrupted lives. The overwhelming expense. What about the children if you have them? Maybe you think your kids would be better not to have to hear all the fighting. But you know what’s better? Not fighting anymore!

Look, it’s not easy to save a marriage, but it can be done and it is not as hard as you think. I learned how to save a marriage and you can too. Your spouse may have given up already, but the fact that YOU want to find out the answer indicates that you have the number one most important thing going for you: commitment. Good for you.

The key to improving things is to change the way you look at your spouse. Most of us only have a very unclear idea of our partner’s thinking process; very little understanding of what drives this person to fight and argue with us. Do you know that when your spouse gets angry, the anger is often caused by FEAR? Ask yourself, what is he or she afraid of? Is fear making them defensive? You might find that you can sympathize more with them when you understand where they are coming from. Next time your spouse gets angry at you, instead of lashing out at them defensively and making things worse, calmly take a second to ask yourself what is is that your spouse is afraid of? (Don’t ask your spouse this question or they might hit the roof. This is no time to engage them, wait till the “steam” has passed).

This is just an example of the tools and skills we teach our clients who come to Star Point Counseling Center in Tampa FL. & Brandon Fl. for Marriage Counseling, Relationship Counseling, Couples Counseling or Family Counseling. 813-244-1251

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Marriage Counseling & Couples Counseling in Tampa Fl. & Brandon Fl.

Star Point Counseling Center in Tampa Fl. & Brandon Fl. offers marriage counseling and couples counseling with trained counselors from a variety of backgrounds and approaches. Marriage Counseling or couples Counseling can help individuals work through relationship dynamics, conflict, normal life stressors and more. Below is a list of some of the issues our counselors can help with:

  • Communication
  • Relationship dynamics
  • Infidelity
  • Sexual addiction
  • Addiction and codependence
  • Parenting
  • Separation/divorce
  • Conflict resolution
  • Finding love for a lifetime
  • Spirituality as a resource to enhance the relationship
  • Pre-marital counseling
  • PREPARE/ENRICH

Does it feel like you have the same fights or conversation over and over again? Does it feel like you spouse or partner never listens.  Are you two going through some major life-transitions or changes, like having a baby, loss of job, divorce, teenage trouble, a child going through the terrible two’s?  Or are dealing with major issues like substance abuse, anger, or even violence in the relationship?

Relationships, whether between married couples, non-married couples, or partners all have their challenges … and sometimes it feel like there is nowhere to turn!.  Are you feeling you’ve hit the end-of-your-rope and it’s time to make some major changes?  Since you’ve taken an important first step by being at this website, we want you to know that relationship therapy, also known as marriage counseling, or couples counseling has helped even the most troubled relationships … so there is hope!

Marriage therapy and relationships counseling focuses on improving communication, bringing back trust into your relationship, and can help you improve your conflict resolution skills.

Hours and Availability

We offer services Monday through Friday noon to 8 PM and on Saturdays 10 AM to 3 PM at both of the locations. 813-244-1251

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MARRIAGE COUNSELING IN BRANDON FL. by STAR POINT COUNSELING CENTER

SEX AND INTIMACY

IF YOU DON’T HAVE A GOOD CONNECTION OUTSIDE THE BEDROOM, YOU WON’T HAVE A GOOD ONE IN THE BEDROOM.

Feeling safe emotionally is a must to feel safe and vulnerable when you are naked!  Getting intimacy back with your partner is a huge part of couples counseling.  If you aren’t feeling that connection, and love or other things are missing for you, you are going to feel a disconnect on many levels.

HERE ARE JUST A FEW THINGS THAT MIGHT BE PRESENT IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP…

  • Different Sexual Appetites and Desires
  • Life Transitions Impacting Sex (babies, parents moving in, medical issues)
  • Sexua Abuse History
  • Affairs and Infidelity
  • Loss of connection

We can help you reconnect and find that closeness that seems to have vanished.  We don’t shy away from the issue, SEX matters!  We can explore all the issues with you to talk about what you like, what you don’t like and why.  Do you know what turns you on but your partner doesn’t know?

marriage counseling brandon fl. couples counseling brandon fl. relationship counseling brandon fl. marriage counseling tampa fl. couples counseling tampa fl. relationship counseling tampa fl

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The Betrayed of Sexual Betrayal

Couples counseling Brandon Fl. & Tampa Fl.
Marriage Counseling Tampa Fl. & Brandon Fl.

Infidelity Counseling Tampa Fl. & Brandon Fl.

Experiencing infidelity or being cheated on in a committed relationship is devastating and traumatic. With an affair, one’s world is truly turned upside down. One’s immediate reaction is denial and shock as they generate other plausible explanations for finding damning texts, emails, pictures, or voicemails on their partner’s phone or iPad. As the realization sets in, one feels the devastating blow that the person they believed was there unconditionally to protect them and love them has now violated all their trust and their sense of security, has tainted all their memories that occurred during the lifespan of the affair, and has now potentially exposed them to disease. The betrayed becomes fraught with obsession for answers and information about the affair, with unwanted visualizations of their partner in sex acts with the other person, and with a sense that they did not measure up or could not please their partner in comparison to the affair partner. Moreover, the betrayed is often filled with mixed feelings about saving the relationship, running like hell, paying their partner back by having an affair of their own, ruining their spouse’s good name, and calling a divorce attorney.

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MARRIAGE COUNSELING & COUPLES COUNSELING TAMPA FL & BRANDON FL.

With guidance from Couples Therapy at Star Point Counseling Center in Tampa Fl. & Brandon Fl., a relationship or marriage can get back on course. When differences get the better of a relationships, stress, worry, anxiety, frustration and anger can result. If the root causes are not addressed through Couples Therapy at Star Point Counseling Center in Tampa Fl. & Brandon Fl., the relationship may deteriorate and cause depression for one, if not both partners, and spill over to other relationships with family or close friends.

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Why Marriage Counseling?

Marriage Counseling, Relationship Counseling, Couples Counseling in Tampa Fl. and Brandon Fl.  at Star Point Counseling Center.

We all realize that difficulties cluster around major events; for instance, trading the single life for coupledom, having a baby, financial difficulties, sexual differences, career changes, lifestyle changes, or retirement. Therapists understand the diverse feelings that exist in these situations. We help the couple make sense of those experiences.

We offer a space in which difficult feelings can be explored between the couple without judgment or blame. Our role is to provide a safe and informed place in which a couple can become clear about what is happening between them, allowing them to make healthy choices. Therefore, couples can move on and make decisions with greater clarity and understanding.

Through our couples therapy in Tampa Fl & Brandon Fl., we help couples more truthfully know themselves and each other. This leads to a better understanding of how their inner selves are affecting their day-to-day, outer lives.

Couples Counseling is not an easy process at times. There is much on the line for couples, families, and individuals who are facing such difficulties. The journey may be hard, but the rewards are great. An initial consultation will enable you to discover whether marriage counseling or couples therapy will be a way forward for you.

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WHY RELATIONSHIP COUNSELING?

Star Point Counseling Center, Marriage Counseling Tampa FL. & Brandon Fl
Couples Counseling Tampa Fl. & Brandon Fl.  Relationship Counseling Tampa Fl. & Brandon Fl

As a couple we create a container which holds all our hopes, fears and desires. When a relationship works, it leads to an immensely fulfilling life. However, as many of us find out, it is not always like that. We may realize that the friendship is not what we expected. Our chosen partner is not quite the person we imagined them to be. The container of our couple starts to feel less secure.

Many people are able to adjust to life changes and reshape the relationship, but in some cases, change feels as if the container is breaking up, the foundations are cracking. Disappointment, anger, and fear begin to replace the initial hopes. It is at this point that help is required.

Getting the help you need

The sooner issues are addressed, the easier they are to work out. Sometimes, marriage counseling or couples therapy is all that is needed, providing a space for the couple to think and to explore their situation.

Marriage Counseling can offer the opportunity to understand the deeper, more unconscious blockages and patterns in a relationship. This frequently links to our earliest and most powerful emotional experiences. Through mutual understanding, a couple often finds new strategies for enjoying their relationship.

What happens in therapy?

Talking to a couples therapist about one’s most private and intimate relationship is a brave thing to do. Seeking professional help is a big step toward dealing with these issues, and it takes courage.

Through experience we know that difficulties between couples are very rarely due to just one person. We are complex individuals with all sorts of fears, hopes, fantasies, and needs. A relationship specialist provides a place where these issues can be explored and expressed without the world coming to an end. Couples counseling is a place in which anything can be said, but these words need not lead to action until a strategy becomes clear.

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