Christmas can be a challenging time of year for stress levels and even harder for those of us with mental health issues. So many things that form our daily routines become disrupted and change the pace of our lives.
Leaving your preparations until the last minute can cause unnecessary stress but planning ahead can save you both time and money. Make a list of the jobs you need to do, the presents you need to buy/make and the groceries you’ll need. Set a realistic timescale to achieve this-remember Rome wasn’t built in a day so you don’t have to achieve Christmas in a single outing.
Shopping online can save you money as well as avoiding the stress of crowded high streets. There are plenty of price comparison sites ensuring you get the best deal. If you want to support your local high street many offer online ordering or home delivery too.
Before you begin your Christmas shopping, make a list of what you need and who you intend to buy for. For each area set yourself a limit; food is X amount, decorations X, gifts for immediate family X, gifts for friends X, colleagues X, etc. This will help organise your thoughts and prevent you from forgetting something or someone and will make sticking to your budget all that easier. It is important to remind yourself that you do not have to buy gifts for everyone nor do those gifts have to be expensive, homemade gifts are often better than shop bought items.
The Festive season is synonymous with over-indulgence followed by the immediate pressure to jump on some miracle cure-all diet bandwagon as soon as the clock strikes on New Years Day. Let us be realistic here, we are all likely to over-indulge a little, the key here is to remember that the food will still be there tomorrow and the next day. The key here is to enjoy a little of what you fancy without going over the top ensuring that, where possible, we still eat plenty of healthy fruits and vegetables to avoid lethargy and irritability.
The celebratory time of year often involves social drinking and although drinking may make you feel more relaxed at the time, it is important to remember that it is a depressant. Excessive amounts can cause low mood, irritability and potentially aggressive behaviour. It is advisable to remain within the safe number of units to sustain good mental and physical wellbeing.
As boring and far from your mind as it may be during Christmas exercise is important. Exercise releases the feel-good chemicals which help you to relax, feel happy and boost your mood. A simple walk, bike ride or joining in with Christmas games can reduce anxiety and improve self-esteem.
Three top ways to increase your winter exercise
Go for a walk. Far less strenuous than a session at the gym. Plus its free!
Get creative in the Garden. If you are lucky enough to have snow, build a snowman. If you are not, have a kick about.
Dance to some cheesy Christmas songs
This time of year provides us with the ideal opportunity to talk, visit and engage with others. You could arrange a shared experience as a gift for friends and family (cookery or bowling).
If you are apart from your family then volunteering for a local community centre can provide that human contact as well as essential support and encouragement for others in need.
Stay In Touch
It is not always possible to be in constant contact with everyone, so Christmas is the perfect time of year to drop them a call, text, email or card.
Talking can be a good way to cope with a problem you have been carrying around for a while. Just being listened to, even if they cannot offer you words of advice often helps the situation seem less bleak.
Try To Relax
Christmas can be very busy and stressful which can lead to increased levels of stress, anxiety, depression, anger and difficulty sleeping, all of which negatively impact on mental health. Take some me time away from the hustle and bustle of everything to just be you. Meditation, yoga and mindfulness can help calm, relax and alleviate symptoms of stress and tension. Try these techniques before bed and see if they help ease you into a restful sleep.
Contact us if you would like to book your free consultation to discuss your mental health