Christmas can be a time full of parties, and get togethers, indulgent meals and often lots of alcohol. With temptation around every corner our physical and mental wellbeing sometimes gets pushed to the back of our minds. For those already experiencing mental health challenges Christmas can be a real trigger point. Here are some tips to avoid burn-out and look after your own mental wellbeing over the festive period:
don’t stay on the couch all day, go for a walk. It’s a great excuse to try out new bikes, scooters, drones, footballs etc! Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and help you to concentrate, sleep and feel better as well as keeping the brain and your other vital organs healthy. Even a simple walk in the fresh air will produce mood-enhancing endorphins to lift your spirits
Avoid overdoing it
if you do drink the units can easily mount up over the festive period. Intersperse alcoholic drinks with soft ones and keep tabs on how much you drink, or go cold turkey for a change (pun intended) While a few drinks may make you feel temporarily euphoric, alcohol is a depressant and often ends up making you feel worse than before.
Don’t over-stuff yourself
research suggests some Christmas dinners contain more than a whole days’ worth of calories! To avoid the bloating and lethargy that follow, or overindulging to cover up emotions and mood, pace your eating and don’t over-face yourself. Moderation is the name of the game.
We scoff 27 mince pies each during the festive period
drinking plenty of fluids keeps energy levels up. Don’t forget your body is two thirds water and it is essential for you to function properly.
Get enough sleep
Sounds like a party pooper but getting enough shut eye reduces stress, and keeps us in tip top condition. Emotionally, physically and psychologically, the holidays can be draining. You need every bit of strength.
Avoid unhelpful social situations
Try to spend time with people who energise you, who understand where you are at and make you feel comfortable.
Have realistic expectations
…about family gatherings and talk with family members beforehand about how best to support you.
1,000 people per year suffer a Christmas tree related injury
Take a break
If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed in a particular situation take a time out, go for a walk, listen to some music, read a book – do something you enjoy and that helps you relax.
Get off the Festive Grid
Avoid getting swept up in a festive frenzy by curtailing social media use.
If life feels particularly overwhelming, get in touch with your GP who can suggest ways to help.
Remind yourself that Christmas is not about excess or stress but about the simplicity of celebrating the happy and hope-filled birth of Jesus.
If you want to explore more of our ‘How to survive Christmas’ series check out the other editions here:
Mind is a charity that provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem.