Are you looking forward to Christmas?

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It’s not long now until Christmas Day, but for most of us it will be a little different this year, and whilst traditionally seen as the most wonderful time of the year, it’s OK to feel overwhelmed and struggle to get into the Christmas spirit. Especially this year, when lots of us are feeling the fatigue and pressure brought on by the cost-of-living crisis, the climate emergency, the war in Ukraine and other challenges. It’s OK if you’re not feeling full of joy during the festive season.  

This weekend I was with friends and heard their plans for Christmas and I admit to feeling anxious as I have not really thought about or planned for Christmas and it made me reflect on how many other people are probably feeling very similar.  In this blog I’ve put together some tips for you (and for me too!) to help get into the festivities of Christmas, and for better mental health and wellbeing this December.

1. Maintain a routine – It can be harder to wake up and stick to your routine during winter due to the dark mornings and feeling cosy under your duvet. Try your best to stick to a regular routine.

2. Make a list – Create your own Christmas agenda to make sure that you balance your social commitments and self-care.  Think about what will make you happy this year.  Make time to do something you enjoy like watching a film or reading a book.

3. Self-care – Having time out helps to prevent stress and keep you going through the day. It’s essential for us to take a break whether it be from work, family, friends or Christmas to make sure we don’t start to feel overwhelmed. Self-compassion is good for your mental health, it’s OK to be kind to yourself.

4. Create a Christmas playlist – Studies show that listening to music can reduce depression and stress, boost our mood, help us to sleep better, as well as improve our motivation and memory.

5. Make time for sleep – Sleep is an essential component to not only positive mental health but also our physical health. Make sure it’s a top priority!

6. Avoid comparisons and expectations – It’s easy to get carried away with what everyone else is doing (or buying!).  Social media means that we can see what others are doing, but avoid unhealthy comparisons, and remember that Instagram squares or stories are only a tiny part of the picture for most.

7. Talk about your feelings – It’s hard to admit that at such a festive time of year you don’t actually feel that great; but talking about your feelings can improve your mood and make it easier to deal with the tough times.

8. Ask for help – At times, we can all get overwhelmed by how we feel, especially when things go wrong.  If things are getting too much for you in the next few weeks and you feel like you can’t cope, ask for help.

9. Connect with others – Spend time with your family and friends, close and positive relationships help us to feel like we have a purpose and sense of belonging.  They can offer different views from whatever’s going on inside your own head, keep you grounded and help you solve practical problems.

10. Winter walk – A winter walk is an enjoyable way to boost your mood as well as getting in some daily exercise. Walking is the easiest way to incorporate exercise into your daily routine and is good for both your mental and physical health.

12. Have mindful moments – Paying attention to the present can improve our mental well-being. Mindfulness helps us reconnect with ourselves and connects us to our thoughts and feelings.  Meditation and mindfulness apps such as ‘CALM’ and “Balance” can be used for relaxation and reconnecting to the present moment.

13.  Accept who you are – Some of us cook fantastic meals, others make people laugh and some are good at looking after others.  Some of us share our lifestyle with the people who live close to us, others live very differently.  Try not to feel pressure to be somebody else – accept and love yourself for who you are.

I hope you have a lovely Christmas and remember 

  • If you need someone to talk to then Samaritans are available on 116 123 (UK) for free, 24/7. They are there to talk to, listen and they won’t judge or tell you what to do.
  • C.A.L.M.: National helpline for men to talk about any troubles they are feeling. Call 0800 58 58 58 (UK). They are available 5pm to midnight, 365 days a year.
  • For support in a crisis, text Shout to 85258. If you’re experiencing a personal crisis, are unable to cope and need support, Shout can help with urgent issues such as: suicidal thoughts, abuse or assault, self-harm, bullying, relationship challenges.

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