Christmas Mental Health
Christmas is coming…but are you feeling cheery?
Not everybody does and the festive season is a time of year that many feel isolated, and the frivolities actually emphasise feelings of sadness and loneliness. It can feel as though the rest of the world is having fun, all except you.
Obviously, this is not really the truth, but it feels so real to those in emotional pain.
If this happens to be you or is happening to someone that you know, then being prepared ahead of the season can be a really useful tool to minimise extra stress. As Christmas is the biggest festivity on the calendar in the UK and the country (and the world it seems!) can become a tad chaotic for those few days and of course, the big run-up. Feeling forced to look and be happy only adds to the strain. Causing anxiety and the onset of depression.
Planning can also avoid extra stress factors such as time, and running out of it, money, spending too much of it. Make lists of tasks and delegate where possible ask children to help wrap presents or write out Christmas cards or help decorate the tree. Ask family and friends to help with the Christmas dinner in advance and to contribute to the meal. Shop online to avoid the crowds and have your groceries delivered to your doorstep. It all helps you to save time, to stick to a budget and to lessen the stress!
Other factors to consider for your wellbeing include:
Change your mindset before Christmas if your usual “let’s just go for it” attitude towards overeating food is what you normally adhere to try to change the all or nothing thinking to avoid unnecessary weight gain after Christmas by adopting a more balanced approach, to maintain regular and nutritious meals with the Christmas treats, as just that, treats! You can always give away unwanted chocolates and other goodies to the homeless.
This attitude will help you to feel at your best, physically, emotionally and mentally.
Although it can feel a social activity, keep in mind that alcohol is actually a depressant which will serve to emphasise low feelings such as depression, anger, frustration and so forth. As with food, use moderately to enjoy and remember alcohol has calorific consumption too! Avoid those added January blues, anxiety and depressive lows when your waistline expands.
As basic as it sounds, this too makes a big impact on how you feel and ties in with the alcohol and food consumption too, as if you don’t get enough sleep it can trigger hunger hormones which encourage you to crave more unhealthy foodstuffs.
Plus you are more niggly with those around you which affects everyone’s mood. Late nights are fine but balance them with early nights in between.
Find ways to include and possibly increase your physical activity over the season to release those feel-good endorphins, ward off extra helpings of chocolates and Christmas pudding and to get some good old fresh air.
There are more fun ways in this season, think sledging (if we get snow!), ice-skating or dancing at Christmas parties…it doesn’t have to be a slog!
Thinking of others can be one of the best ways to feel better yourself. Maybe consider some volunteering at a food bank or help at a charity over the Christmas period, even a little thing like visiting a local elderly person can lift your spirits.
Gift giving produces those feel-good emotions too as does being around friends and family.
If you are feeling alone and sad this season, especially if you a grieving and missing a loved one Christmas can be an extremely difficult time to get through. Please reach out and talk to someone that you trust and share your feelings. Don’t keep your bad feelings bottled up within.
Take care and have yourselves a very happy Christmas, Jane x