Looking after your Mental Health at Christmas
Yes it can be the ‘most wonderful time of year’ but Christmas also comes with many additional stresses and pressures and these can put a strain on your mental health. Amongst these are financial costs, travelling, social pressure to consume more food and alcohol than usual, extra work and that joy of joys- family dynamics.
The Perfect Facebook Christmas
Of course social media now would lead us to believe that everyone else is having a super duper airbrushed time with perfect food, matching festive outfits and a house full of family bonhomie. These comparisons are not always helpful and can create unrealistic expectations. In turn this can have a negative impact on our self-esteem and possibly we won’t appreciate the good things we do have. It may be an idea to limit your time on social media over the festive period. Also ask yourself the question- if someone is having a genuinely rip-roaring Christmas surely they wouldn’t have time to take and post that many photos?!
Food Glorious Food
It can be tempting to turn to booze amidst all of this pressure and whilst that can be great fun it can bring its own problems, especially if you or one of your family members has an underlying drink problem. Similarly with food if you or a loved one has issues around eating then Christmas with all of its excesses can feel like hell on earth. Being open and honest can be very hard but hopefully if you have one person you can trust to talk through your concerns with then that partner /friend/family member can help you navigate your way through so that you can stay healthy and calm.
Christmas can be a lovely opportunity to catch up with friends or family members you don’t see that often. However if you do have a family member that always pushes your buttons then the thought of being holed up with said family member in question for days on end could cause a lot of anxiety.
If this is the case try and prepare yourself in advance with coping strategies. This may be making time each day to go off for a walk by yourself or making sure you are never alone with that person. Remember just because somebody is a blood relative it doesn’t mean they have the right to make you feel terrible. If they are having a negative impact on your mental health then you do not have to spend time with that person.
Find Your Joy
This could be sitting by the fire, listening to the Kings College Choir singing carols on the radio or it could be going out for a run by yourself on Christmas morning. Perhaps it is helping out someone in the community, spending quality time with a loved one or having a change of scenery for a few days with a favourite book.
It is very easy for other people to tell you to put yourself first and very hard to do yourself but please try and remember that taking some time out doing something you enjoy is allowed and more than that it is pretty important!