Christmas can be an exciting time for some and a stressful event for others. Whether you suffer from a Mental Illness or not it can be a difficult time of the year.
It may be your first Christmas without someone special, maybe you find the busy crowds a bit overwhelming or you feel the self inflicted stress trying to get everything done for the ‘perfect Christmas’.
Of course we want to get our friends and family the presents they deserve, but setting a budget that is within your means and sticking to it can help avoid unmanageable credit card bills which could impact your Mental Health further. If you need financial advice you can get some information here.
Of course with Christmas comes more parties and social drinking. Although alcohol can help us feel relaxed, it is also a depressant. Drinking excessive amounts can lower your mood. Stick to the recommended unit intake and you should be able to maintain better physical and mental wellbeing.
We cant help ourselves during the festive period and we do tend to over indulge. This in turn can prompt lower self esteem and body image. Alternatively if you have a history of an Eating Disorder, the quantity of food and the focus on food may be stressful.
Maintaining a healthy diet and weight can improve your mood and can work towards preventing symptoms of lethargy and low mood that many of us feel during the busy festive season and dark winter months.
So, here are some ways to help look after yourself this Christmastime.
I get by with a little help from my friend…
Helping others is good for your own mental health and wellbeing. It can help reduce stress, improve your mood, increase self-esteem and happiness and even benefit your physical health. So visit your elderly neighbour (John Lewis raised awareness this year with their advert for Age UK), volunteer some of your time at a local charity or community initiative.
I always find you do not realise how exhausted you are until you have a few days off. If you are luck enough to have some time off over Christmas, have some ‘Me Time”, try out mindfulness techniques (I’ve written about some in a previous blog post), go for a walk or a long soak in the bath. Go on you’ve earned it…
Catch some zZzZz…
With all the parties and disruption yo your normal routine and sleep pattern, it’s important to ensure you remain well rested. It’s a well known fact that sleep quality is linked to better mental wellbeing. So take a look at your sleep hygiene, as an increase in alcohol, less physical activity and increase in stress can have a big impact.
I hope you have a happy and healthy Christmas and New Year, but if you need a little more support over the next few weeks, I will add some charities below.