For many people, the festive season is a jolly time to connect with others and celebrate the year. But financial issues, family conflict and loneliness can increase stress for people with anxiety or depression in the lead up to Christmas and the new year.
Mental health illnesses do not usually suddenly disappear on December 1st. There can be added stresses, activities, and people to consider as the festive season starts; with more happening it is important to make sure your well being remains a priority.
Here are 10 tips that may help you manage your Christmas and New Year.
1. Plan ahead
Try to avoid unnecessary stress by planning as much as possible in the run up to Christmas, without taking on too much. There is nothing wrong with saying no and letting people know how busy you are already.
2. Make time for you
At Christmas it can be easy to get swept up by other people’s ideas of fun. It’s important to make sure that you do something you want to as well. If you have a few days of activities, make sure you have a break in between to relax or do something you enjoy.
3. Avoid comparisons
If you go on social media over the festive season, try to avoid comparing your experience. Remember that most people only share the best bits of their lives online.
4. Get outside
Going for a walk, even just around the block, can be a great way to get some fresh air and exercise. Being in the same house for too long can get a bit intense, especially if it’s crowded.
5. Try to eat/ drink healthily
It is fine to have a bit of culinary indulgence over Christmas, but making sure you try to balance your intake of alcohol/ high calorie meals along with fruit and vegetables can help you avoid energy lows, which can affect your mood.
6. Get enough sleep
Feeling sleepy can leave you feeling low, so try to keep to regular sleep patterns as much as possible over the Christmas period. This is something to think about if you are partying late, use the next day as a break, catch up on sleep and unwind.
7. Talk to someone
If you’re worried about Christmas or feel overwhelmed or under pressure, don’t be afraid to talk to someone about it. Have a chat to someone you trust. Book a counselling appointment leading up to Christmas.
If you are not sure who to talk to, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 available to chat 24/7.
8. Keep active
Exercise can be great for mental health and there are still ways to keep it up over Christmas. Dance to some festive classics, head outside for a walk, maybe you will be able to have a game of cricket or a stroll along the beach.
9. Christmas alone
If you are spending Christmas alone, think about what you want to do beforehand. You may decide to curl up with a favourite movie, book yourself a getaway or arrange to go to a Christmas lunch in your area. You could also consider volunteering at Christmas which is a great way to meet new friends and give something back.
11. Self Care
Book yourself some time to take care of you in the lead up to Christmas. Whether it be a massage, salt float, sauna session, reiki or meditation. You deserve it!