Mental Health at Christmas

Christmas hat left behind on road

The festive period is, if not the ‘most wonderful’ time, a slightly more joyous one than the rest of the year. With gatherings of family and friends, work parties and days off to celebrate the holidays, most people look like they are in a good headspace. However, the pressure to be ‘in the festive spirit’, as well as financial strains from overspending, can all lead to declining mental health; resulting in anxiety and depression.

Don’t Put Yourself in Unnecessary Debt

It happens time and time again. We’ve become hell-bent on pleasing everyone else by spending beyond our means to get presents we think they want. The satisfaction from such gifts is, unfortunately, very short-lived. Set a budget and don’t feel like you have to buy everyone something to be accepted. Suggest secret-Santa among groups of family and friends so everyone gets something. Also, give your loved ones some credit; they will understand if you’re unable to fork-out for a gift.

Be Kind to Yourself

This can often be the most simple but difficult thing to do. In the words of RuPaul ‘if you can’t love yourself, then how in the hell you gon’ love somebody else?’ Fill your own cup and let it overflow to help others. If you haven’t tended to your own needs and are focussed solely on someone else’s, you aren’t doing either of you a favour. If you see someone else struggling, show some love and offer a listening ear. You might even be able to put the world to rights between you.

Message about balancing self care and social obligations are Christmas with six gingerbread men

Furthermore, this period is often used as a time for reflection over what’s happened over the previous year. You might misuse this opportunity to judge yourself on what you’ve lost out on or haven’t achieved. It’s difficult to ignore those voices that tell you otherwise, but really try to challenge them; be realistic about the goals you set yourself for the future.

Talk

We are far too proud to talk at the best of times, let alone at a time when there’s a real danger of being a fun-sponge. Your family and friends are there to listen all year round, so please, if you’re struggling; talk to them. If you’re moping about the sidelines someone is bound to notice anyway. They would want to help if they knew you were having a hard time, so give them that chance, otherwise, they’ll carry on as though everything’s fine. Masks are for Halloween, so drop the act!

Christmas is a time for relaxing and a bit of overindulgence. But don’t overindulge on overindulgence. If something is going to compromise your mental health, don’t do it! Try to stick to an exercise routine but be a little less rigid. Yoga is my personal holy grail for self-care. This Yoga with Adrienne video could be your first port of call.