Coping with Christmas
Category: Blogs & Written by Simon On December-20-2019 16:03:15
Coping with Christmas
By Emma Lanza
It's a time of year where so much is happening, which is why for some, it can feel a little overwhelming. We're expected to fully immerse ourselves and enjoy this holiday. Just a glance at social media shows beautifully decorated trees and perfectly laid out living rooms, friends attending festive events and idyllic family pictures. It looks like everyone has Christmas sorted and is having a wonderful time, which can make us feel even more stressed as our to-do lists keep growing and the expectation is that we should be having the best time.
So let's break it down and look at the common stresses at Christmas time and perhaps how we can help improve our mental health around this time of year.
Feeling fatigued, full and fed up
Focus on your physical health and attend to your body’s needs. When our bodies are strong reliable and healthy this can have a positive impact on our mental state. Christmas is a time of indulgence, whether it be booze, mince pies or staying in all day.
- Limit alcohol. Alcohol can have a profound effect on our mental health, alcohol is a depressant. If you're particularly susceptible to feeling low then perhaps think about reducing or even cutting out the festive drinks.
- Eat well. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a little indulgence now and again, but remember to have a balance. Get some good nutrition in there too. And remember if you do overindulge it's not the end of the world, make sure you don't try and starve yourself at the next meal, it's ok to eat!
- Stay active. If you've spent a few days indoors, ensure you make time outside of the house, perhaps take a winter walk.
Fomo, fear of missing out!
This is a big one around Christmas time. Work parties, family visits, community events...there's so much going on. You might want to say yes to everything, so you don't miss out or don't let people down OR you might want to avoid all of it altogether. Maybe you don't have any invites or family close by so you end up feeling like you're missing out and lonely.
- Remember you can say no. Missing a party or ducking out of a stressful social event is not going to impact your whole life, take a breath and realise that you don't need to go to everything.
- Make sure you do make some time to socialise. Check out what's happening in your local community eg Christmas lights switch on, Christmas fetes.
- If it makes you feel worse. Reduce the time spent on social media. Make sure you still stay in touch with people over December, text, call, meet up. But you don't need to look at the status updates daily.
Spend, Spend, Spend
So many cards and gift-giving. Not only the pressure of ensuring you remember everyone but also the financial strain it has.
- Make a list of the people you absolutely need to buy for. Not everyone you meet needs a present or even expects one.
- Set a Christmas budget. Write a list of how much you can spend per person, on food etc and stick to it.
- Only buy from the sale if you actually need it. We can often get carried away with the Christmas offers but it's not saving money if we weren't going to buy in the first place.
- Get creative and give homemade gifts or even buy second hand.
Feeling like the giving spirit is gone?
Doing good, makes us feel good. Christmas is a perfect time to give back, there are so many opportunities to volunteer.
- Donate some of your unwanted things, many churches and schools have fetes, tombolas, raffles etc. There's also the Christmas box appeals, or local charity shops.
- Visiting elderly family members or a local care home at this time of year can have a wonderful effect on those that might be feeling lonely. Just pop in for a cup of tea and a chat, offer a listening ear. It's fascinating listening to the wonderful stories, reminiscing about their youth, you might make someone's day.
- Maybe donate to a charity instead of giving cards this year. I've seen people announce this and think its a nice idea, the money they would spend on cards they instead have donated to a good cause.
I can't cope!
Sometimes it can all be just too much. Perhaps you feel overwhelmed, isolated or lonely. It's ok to feel this way.
- Talk to people about how you feel. There will be people who understand and some who feel the same way.
- Make sure you get out, isolating yourself can make your mental health worse. A short walk or meeting a close friend for a cuppa can help.
- Take a break. Make some time for yourself to rest.
- If you are missing loved ones no longer with us, visit a place that was special to them. Talk about them with others, write about them, share photos and stories. It's a wonderful time to honour and remember them.
If you're struggling, here are some things that are happening over the Christmas period take a look at our recent post Support on Christmas Day and the Holiday Period