The festive season has the potential to impact individuals’ mental health in various ways. It is a time of year when lots of us experience heightened pressure and demands, contributing to a range of effects on our wellbeing. In addition to this, Christmas can evoke feelings of loneliness for some which can also significantly impact a person’s mental wellbeing.
The jmcare group have compiled our top tips for nurturing your wellbeing this festive season.
- Express yourself/ask for help – Talking about your feelings can improve your mood by connecting with others and tackle any challenges with the help of your support network. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed and in need of support, you can ask family or friends for help. Sometimes you may need the help of a professional, and you can reach out to the following organisations.
- Check in with others – We never know what other people are going through or how they are feeling, especially at this challenging time of year. A simple check-in such as a text message, phone call or catch up in person can let someone know that you are there for them if they need it. Friends and family can help to make you feel cared for and decrease feelings of loneliness. If you are feeling alone, or are away from family this Christmas, the Campaign to End Loneliness provides some useful resources.
- Alcohol in moderation – For some people, drinking alcohol may be seen as a way to cope with poor mental wellbeing, but it is important to maintain personal and physical wellbeing too. Social gatherings over the festivities can also add unwanted peer pressure to consume alcohol excessively. Consider no or low alcohol alternatives as a positive approach. If you are struggling with alcohol consumption, the Mental Health Foundation offers support and guidance here.
- Keep active – Shorter days and cold weather are not the greatest motivators to get you out of bed and do that 5K run, but studies show that exercise releases chemicals in your brain that will boost your mental wellbeing and self-esteem.
- Avoid unhealthy comparisons or expectations – it is easy to get carried away at this time of year with what others are doing (or buying!) but it is important to manage finances and gift giving responsibly. 1 in 5 people have reported struggling with debt during the festive season. Try engaging an open conversation and agree a mutual budget with recipients over gift giving and hosting. If you are struggling, you can find free advice here.
- Eat well – Christmas is typically the season of overindulgence, but what we eat can directly impact how we feel. One of our top tips is to balance this out over the festive season. Moderation is everything!
- Take a break – The festive season is the perfect opportunity to step away from your day-to-day routine and gain some perspective to reflect on your year. A change of scene or pace is always good for you. Practising mindfulness can help you to unwind. The Mind Charity have some great additional tips.
- Remember a loved one in a special way – If you are affected by grief during the festive period, we recommend that you allow yourself some time to feel that grief. Try not to bottle up your feelings, it is okay to cry or share these feelings with others. Try to plan ways to remember those that are no longer here. You could light a candle by their photo, visit a special place, or serve one of their favourite foods on Christmas day.
- Say no (more)! – The festive season can be full of pressures to say yes to various requests from others. Understand your limits and establish healthy boundaries which work for you.
- Help others/volunteer – Navigating the festive season can be challenging for some, especially when you are dealing with your own struggles. However, volunteering can help to combat loneliness, and connecting with others while contributing to a meaningful cause can be a positive experience. Engaging in acts of kindness, and supporting your local community not only benefits those in need but serves as a positive boost for your own mental wellbeing. If you are feeling open to it, take a moment to explore opportunities in your local area. Remember to focus on activities that bring joy rather than stress and enjoy your volunteering experience.
Your mental health is so important. By making small changes, you can ensure that you not only get through, but enjoy the festive season.
“If Christmas is a hard time for you, it is important to remember you are not alone”.
– Mind, Mental Health Charity
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