12 Tips for Mental Wellbeing This Christmas
Christmas is a season to be jolly, eating, drinking, and spending time with family and friends – generally enjoying the festive season.
However, this can be an especially tough time for those who struggle with a mental health condition.
A condition further exacerbated by the cold and long winter nights, making Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) common during this period.
Other triggers can include the financial strain from buying presents, and the prospects of spending Christmas alone.
In the same vein, the stress of having family around in a small space for an extended period may be added pressure for people due to complicated family dynamics.
The first thing is to recognise that you are struggling. Howbeit, you’re not alone.
Research has shown that one in four people struggle at Christmas, and up to 54% know someone who struggles with their mental health around Christmas.
Your 12 tips for mental wellbeing this Christmas
Christmas is here again, and here are 12 tips to help you with your mental wellbeing.
# 1 Cope ahead Plan
Avoid unnecessary stress over the festive season by planning as much as possible in the run-up to Christmas.
Also, be careful not to take on too much!
You’re not being selfish by saying “no” to some things or asking for some help.
For example, if you’re hosting Christmas dinner, could you ask some of your guests to bring a starter or dessert?
# 2 Make time for you
At Christmas, it can be all too easy to get swept up in other people’s ideas of fun.
It’s important to make sure that you do something you want as well – this is your holiday too!
If you know this will be hard, try booking something in advance or setting a free day or two aside just for you.
# 3 Avoid comparisons
If you decide to use social media over the festive season, avoid comparing your experience to those of your friends.
Remember that most people only share the best bits of their lives online. You don’t know what’s happening behind the smiling selfies and prezzie pics!
# 4 Pace yourself
Give yourself time to relax over the Christmas period.
Don’t be afraid to take time out to go for a walk, listen to music or have a nap if you need it.
If you’re hosting, try to plan this in advance.
# 5 Get outside
Going for a wintery walk – even if it’s just around the block – can be the perfect way to get some fresh air and exercise along with a change of place.
A change of scenery will do everyone good!
# 6 Try to eat healthily
While it’s expected to overindulge a bit over Christmas, try to keep your diet as balanced as possible with lots of fruit and vegetables.
This will help you to avoid energy lows that can affect your mood.
# 7 Alcohol in moderation
While a bit of alcohol can make you feel relaxed, don’t forget that drinking too much can leave you feeling irritable and low.
Drink within recommended guidelines and enjoy a Christmas tipple; alcohol can have a negative impact on your mood.
It can play a big part in arguments and disagreements, so drinking in moderation is sensible.
# 8 Get enough sleep
Feeling sleepy can also leave you feeling low, so try to keep to regular sleep patterns as much as possible over the Christmas period.
# 9 Talk to someone
If you’re worried about Christmas or feel overwhelmed or under pressure, don’t be afraid to talk to someone about it. Have a chat with someone you trust.
#10 Keep active
Exercise can be great for mental health, and there are still ways to keep it up over Christmas!
Have a Christmas dance challenge do some festive take a walking challenge on Christmas day
# 11 Christmas alone
If you’re spending Christmas alone, have a think about what you want to do beforehand.
You may decide to curl up with a favourite movie, book yourself a getaway or arrange to go to a lunch.
# 12 Volunteer
It’s no secret – giving something back can help you feel good about yourself, and there’s no more perfect time to volunteer than around Christmas.
Please leave your comments below.
Dr Tonye Ogan
M.B.B.S., PgDip (P.H.)