Managing your mental health over Christmas
Whilst Christmas is intended to be a time of joy and festivities, the holiday period can often magnify issues including financial stressors, family conflicts, grief and loneliness. The pressure of living up to society’s expectations of a perfect and happy Christmas can create excessive stress and exacerbate mental health conditions including depression, anxiety, addictions and eating disorders.
Thankfully, if you are worried about your mental health over Christmas, there are several practical tips that may help to safeguard against our mental health that typically wavers during the festive season:
Manage your expectations: Many of us strive to create the ‘perfect’ Christmas however in doing so, we create a lot of unnecessary pressure and unrealistic expectations that can harm our mental health. Try reframing your perspective, for instance spending only what you can afford or doing something meaningful for others instead and learning to say ‘no’ to things you would only do out of obligation or tradition. By embracing imperfections, you can begin to focus on what is going well rather than dwelling on things that aren’t.
Focus on the present: We cannot rewrite the past nor predict the future therefore there is no point in worrying about things that are beyond our control. What we can focus on is what is happening now and notice the things around us that bring us joy, no matter how small. Being mindful can help us to live life more fully and improve our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
Be kind to yourself: During times of stress and/or loneliness, looking after yourself is essential. Incorporating self-care as part of your daily routine whether this be enjoying a hobby, reading a good book, short walks, watching a movie or investing in a good night’s sleep, has an invaluable effect on our wellbeing.
Connecting with others: It is not uncommon to avoid people and situations when we feel lonely and disconnected. Unfortunately, this can reinforce our beliefs and further isolate us which can negatively affect our mental health. Ways we can connect to others include initiating conversations with neighbours, calling or messaging an old friend, volunteering or signing up to a class that interests you.
Talk about your feelings: In order to understand the root of your worries, it is important to acknowledge and speak about your feelings whether this be with a friend, relative or a trained mental health professional. At Positive Mind Works, we have a team of psychologists who can help you to explore your worries and identify your triggers.
With Christmas and New Year’s rapidly approaching, there is no doubt these will bring some inevitable stressors. What is important though is our ability to choose how to respond to these to ensure we protect our mental health over Christmas. We need to allow ourselves to slow down during this silly season and re-assess what is important to us in order to create fulfilling memories.
If you feel that you’ve seen a decline of your mental health over Christmas, one of our experience psychologists would be happy to see you for a number of sessions – to help you get back to feeling the best version of yourself. To book an appointment, give us a call on 1800 327 477 (AU) / 0800 327 477 (NZ) or click here to book online.