Christmas is a time for fun, family and festivities but there are some people who find this time of year difficult. I’m not trying to take away from the holiday spirit but I would like to use this platform to raise further awareness for those experiencing mental health difficulties this festive season.
Singer and mental health advocate Ke$ha has written a heartfelt letter/essay for Time– stressing the importance of self-care during the holidays and sharing her own experiences. Her letter inspired me to sit down and think about some self-care tips I can share with my readers to help you through the holiday season.
Self-Care at Christmas
I’ve already written a post sharing some self-care tips which you can read here but these are more specific to Christmas and the holiday season!
Feelings of Isolation
Watching everyone around you getting in on all the fun when you’re feeling low can be an extremely isolating experience. You start to wonder why you can’t just enjoy the Christmas spirit like everyone else and it’s really overwhelming, which often leads to…
It’s important to remember that you shouldn’t feel guilty for wanting to do something unrelated to Christmas. This is part of the reason why I haven’t participated in Blogmas this year. I’m not a huge Christmas person, I don’t feel like I have enough festive cheer to cover 25 Christmas-related posts. There is also a lot of pressure on social media to portray your “Christmas Experience” a certain way. Combat this by limiting your exposure to social media and remember – it’s only one day of the year and certainly not the “be all and end all” that it seems!
It’s also important to be realistic about your own expectations of yourself and others. It’s perfectly ok to politely decline an invitation if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Keeping to a budget over Christmas is really difficult, especially if you have a lot of people to buy for. And that doesn’t even factor in the extra festive nights out and catch-ups with people who are home for the Christmas holidays. It’s easier said than done, but try not to compare yourself with others. Spend within YOUR means. Everyone’s financial circumstances are different and don’t forget – it’s the thought that counts!
So. Many. People.
Over the Christmas period – everywhere is packed full of people. Restaurants, bars, shops – you name it, they’re full. One of the main triggers of my anxiety is crowds and tight spaces. Last weekend I tried to get some Christmas shopping in Belfast City Centre on Saturday afternoon. I gave up after half an hour, it was just too much. If you, like me, struggle with crowds – online shopping might be the answer!
Change of Routine
Whilst it’s nice to be out of the office, a change of routine can be difficult to get used to. It’s hard but try not to get too out of sync with your usual routine. This includes your diet, sleeping pattern and alcohol intake. By all means treat yourself but your body will thank you for it later! Increased alcohol intake can also have a detrimental effect on your mood. If you’re struggling with this, suggest holding a catch-up somewhere other than the pub – that way you’re saving money and limiting your intake at the same time!
If you’re struggling with any of these issues and/or feelings this festive season, please don’t suffer in silence. Charities such as the Samaritans have accessible helplines open 24 hours a day (yes- including Christmas Day!) if you require extra support. Equally, if you think a friend or family member might be struggling – reach out to them.
With all that being said, I hope all of my readers have a safe and relaxing festive season.