How to look after your mental health at Christmas

December 10, 2021 • Lewis Goldsbury

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year right?

Unfortunately, not for everyone. In fact, for many, Christmas can strike up the most negative of emotions. Whether it’s worrying about finances or dealing with anxiety around family rifts. The festive season can take a toll on a person’s mental wellbeing.

That’s why we’ve put together five tips to help you look after your mental health this Christmas.

Don’t take on more than you can handle

The days leading up to Christmas are often packed with lots of things to do and events to attend. If you notice your stress levels rising as a result, it may be time to start saying no to certain invitations. This will help you avoid any unnecessary stress and will give you more time to focus on what you can manage.

Saying no isn’t easy – especially to the people we care about most. But remember, prioritising your mental health is never selfish. Set out a script to use when you let your friends and family know that you can’t make something or need to cancel. This will make it easier to get your true feelings across.

If you’re a parent and need some time to yourself, don’t be afraid to ask someone to take the kids out for a few hours. It’s normal to need some alone time every now and again. After all, your family and friends want you to be feeling your best, so they will understand.

Set realistic expectations

TV adverts and movies are overwhelmingly optimistic when it comes to Christmas. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with this, it can often lead to unrealistic expectations which can negatively affect our mental health at Christmas. It’s normal for families to bicker throughout the year and to experience some degree of tension. Try to be realistic about what you want and expect this year to avoid disappointment. Managing your own expectations and letting go of some stress early on will help.

It’s also important to recognise that most people feel some form of pressure during this time of year, so try to be as empathetic as you can. Who knows, you may even find common ground with others. Making things a little lighter.

Avoid comparing yourself to others online

For many, social media is a place of inspiration, motivation and admiration. But it can also have adverse effects on a person’s mental health and wellbeing. Nowadays, it’s easier than ever to compare ourselves to others. All you have to do is turn on your phone or computer – and comparison becomes the thief of joy! We’re bombarded with achievements and updates from our friends, family and even strangers.

Just remember that social media is not exactly reality; the perfectly posed photos of lavish gifts and happy families playing games around the table on Christmas day. It’s easy to portray a life that is actually pretty different behind the camera lens. This can leave us analysing our own life and wondering why we don’t have what others do.

You should take it easy on yourself and avoid making unhelpful comparisons. Try and limit the time you spend online to protect your mental health at Christmas. This will help you to stay grounded and become more content with what you have.

Get active in your local community

Staying indoors can feel like a safe haven for some, but the pandemic taught us that isolation can often increase feelings of loneliness. So why not give yourself a sense of purpose by volunteering or joining a local organisation? Becoming an active member of your community and helping others can be really rewarding. This could help you feel good about yourself, whilst reducing any feelings of loneliness.

If you need help finding the right opportunity, head to Do IT, an online network for volunteers. There are various opportunities available – even some you can do from home!

Don’t overindulge

It’s never been more important to prioritise both our mental and physical health. Did you know that overindulgence can negatively affect a person’s mental health? For example, drinking too much may leave you feeling irritable and low. Likewise, eating excess amounts of food can leave you feeling bloated and unwell. Mental health and emotional difficulties should not take a back seat over Christmas.

Try to keep active over Christmas as exercise encourages the release of endorphins. It’s a perfect time of year to get out on a walk and clear your mind. Walking briskly at a good pace will get your heart rate going and keep you warm if you’re feeling the chill. If you fancy staying inside, have a boogie to some Christmas tunes. A sure way of improving your mood and getting those endorphins flowing!

Don’t let money govern your mood

Speaking of overindulgence, Christmas is an expensive time of year. Sure, there’s the presents and the food to spend cash on. But there’s also the constant get-togethers. Nights at the pub or work Christmas parties only add to the running Christmas tab. Not having the cash to keep up can leave you feeling left out and stressed – but it doesn’t need to! With a little thinking and imagination, there are plenty of ways to do Christmas on a budget.

For starters, you can cut costs if you’re hosting Christmas dinner and create thrifty homemade gifts. For everything else, set a budget to help you keep track of your cash flow. Stick to one outfit for your Christmas parties. And set yourself a food and drinks budget that allows you to still have fun without breaking the bank. Staying on top of your finances can help put your mind at ease, letting you enjoy those special moments.

At Fair For You, we offer flexible repayment plans to help spread the cost of your home essentials all year round. From Whirlpool appliances to kids entertainment, we have everything you need to kit out your home for the holidays. So, why not browse through our collections today.

We also understand that this time of year can be pretty tough. All of us experience festive stress to some degree and it’s normal to feel anxious about spending time with family while trying to balance responsibilities. Remember you’re not in this alone.

If Christmas is a hard time for you, it’s best to speak with your GP for advice and support. Below are some other helpful organisations you can turn to for support with your mental health:

Mind – they offer lots of helpful resources, including signposting services. To discuss treatment options and where you can get help, call their Infoline.

Samaritans – a charity that offers support to those struggling with emotional difficulties. You can get in touch with Samaritans through email, post, face-to-face or call them on 116 123 for someone to talk to.

Hub of Hope – you can use Hub of Hope as a search engine to find mental health charities and organisations close to you, or find one that can help with a specific problem.

SHOUT – if you need urgent help, text Shout to 85258 to get support from a trained volunteer. It’s free to use on most major mobile networks and the service is available 24/7.

You can also head over to our Instagram and Facebook where we share wellness tips to keep you in balance every Wednesday. You’ve got this!

Please note we’ve used links to external websites. Although we make every effort to ensure these links are accurate, up to date and relevant, Fair for You Enterprise CIC cannot take responsibility for pages maintained by external providers. Views expressed on external sites we link to are not necessarily those of Fair for You Enterprise CIC.

If you come across any external links that don’t work, we would be grateful if you could report them to the web content team.

This entry was posted in Health and Wellness and How To's
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