How Does the Season of Excess Affect Your Mental Health?

Fame, Success, and Wealth can Make the Festive Season a Challenging Time

It is an exhausting time for anyone managing addiction or mental health issues, particularly high-net-worth individuals who are likely to be invited to multiple social events where others are over indulging. The pressure to join in and the stamina it takes to constantly say no can be overwhelming. For celebrities, balancing the need to document their life on social media and attend interviews to promote their work, with looking after their wellbeing, is hard to get right. Equally for business leaders, the expectation they will relax at Christmas and switch off completely from work can cause stress in itself.

Christmas Expectations: A Minefield for Celebrities and High-Net-Worth Individuals

There is an innate connection between the expectations placed on someone, either by themselves or those around them, and anxiety disorders.

Excessive Consumption at Christmas can Lead to Substance Abuse Disorder

For successful individuals and celebrities, the increase in social and emotional expectations, or a sense of estrangement from loved ones, can perpetuate feelings of anxiety and stress. At a time when alcohol overconsumption is so widespread, it is easy to start using it as a coping mechanism. However, alcohol is a depressant, and using it to manage anxiety perpetuates the problem.

Five Tips to Help You Cope this Christmas

There are a number of things you can do to manage the multiple stressors you’re likely to face this Christmas. Here are five to try.

1. Avoid Emotional Confrontation

What we are feeling determines where we focus our attention and thoughts, which in turn leads to actions. Christmas Day can be emotionally challenging and cause negative patterns of behaviour to emerge, particularly for successful individuals who feel estranged from their extended family.

2. Manage Expectations

In All’s Well That Ends Well, Shakespeare writes that “Oft expectation fails, and most oft there where most it promises,” which roughly translates as “high expectations lead to heartache.” As we’ve mentioned, the expectation on wealthy people to attend social events and project a facade of happiness at Christmas can be emotionally exhausting.

3. Pay Attention to Your Thinking Pattern

One way to avoid leaning on substances such as alcohol as a coping mechanism is to witness the thought processes that lead to a decision to drink. Mindfulness can help you cultivate this self-awareness. If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, rather than projecting that feeling onto those around you, recognise the feeling’s existence and process it by going for a walk or taking time to yourself.

4. Be Aware that all Humans have Limitations, Including You

The Christmas to-do list is always long. For successful people living in the public eye, this includes numerous social events, which increases their work schedule just when their loved ones want to see them. What’s more, extreme success is often driven by perfectionism. It is a useful trait in the pursuit of difficult goals, but it can also lead you to try and please everyone.

5. Accept other people’s emotions

Be empathetic to other people. For example some find receiving gifts difficult and may not respond how you expect or want. Rather than feeling resentment about this, embrace the fact they can still surprise you.

Paracelsus Recovery

Christmas is unavoidably hectic for everyone, but for successful individuals whose lives already involve lots of pressure and responsibility it can be extra hard. The increase in expectations, both personally and professionally, can lead to emotional exhaustion and potentially burnout.

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