After the year we’ve all had, keeping your mental health in check has never been so important. Let’s face it, mental health doesn’t take time off at Christmas like the rest of us and with all the added stresses and feels that can come with the festive season, giving yourself that extra TLC and self-care is essential to your well-being.
5 Ways To Keep Your Mental Health In Check Over Christmas
Here’s our round up of simple actions you can take and be more mindful of when it comes to being good to yourself and your mental health this Christmas.
Make time for family and friends
Good relationships are so important for your mental health so stick close to the people in your life that feel like sunshine! It’s important that we feel connected and part of something so putting in quality time with family, friends and your community is crucial.
Ok, so the party season might look very different for us all this year, but we can still keep up many of our usual social traditions – just in a more virtual or creative way. Consider virtual carol singing for lols with your nearest and dearest, the ever fun Secret Santa, Christmas quiz nights on Zoom, the possibilities are endless! Start making your plans for your virtual festive catch-ups now.
Regular exercise and keeping an active lifestyle release chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins trigger positive feelings in the body helping to lift your mood, reduce stress and anxiety and increase energy. What could be better, right? As the winter evenings get darker, it can be harder to feel like getting out and about and oh-so more tempting to chill on the sofa in front of the TV. Guilty.
Just incorporating simple active spouts of activity into your daily routine, like going for a walk with a friend, can make such a positive difference to how you feel. So, keep active this December, your body and mind will thank you for it in the long run.
Get plenty of rest and relaxation
Doing what it says on the tin, getting ample rest and relaxation in does wonders for your mental health. Aim to get 8-10 hours of sleep every night to ensure you feel well rested in mind, body and spirit each day.
Whilst it may be tempting, especially over the Christmas period, it’s also worth noting, alcohol can affect how well you sleep and the quality of sleep you get. Any anxiety you are experiencing may already be affecting your sleep and overindulging in alcohol will impact this further. So just be mindful of this when it comes to the festive season.
Focus on the good
More than ever it’s safe to say our thoughts right now are affected by things that are happening in the world which we cannot control, as well as our everyday lives, stress at work, relationships, financial worries, you name it. While it may not always seem true, we can control our thoughts to some extent.
Try to think about each thought you have. Ask yourself is it a helpful or unhelpful thought? Focusing on unhelpful negative thoughts can drain energy and stop you from moving forward in life mentally, spiritually and physically. More helpful, positive thoughts give you a sense of possibility within yourself, opening up your mind to more options and general good experiences. Try to practise positive thinking to experience some of the joy and goodwill associated with the festive season.
OK, so we all know Christmas is a time of excess but none more so than food, right? We’re talking stuffing yourself to the point on Christmas Day where an after dinner nap is essential. Guilty? Us too. While it’s great to indulge in your favourite treats with your nearest and dearest, it’s also important to remember a balanced nutritious diet is just as important for mental health as it is for physical health.
Junk food, alcohol, fizzy drinks and foods high in sugar, which we consume in abundance at this time of year, may give you a short-term energy boost, however, they may also lead to a sharp drop in blood sugar later. This drop can leave your food feeling low and your anxiety high. Try to be more mindful of this over the Christmas period to make sure you indulge and treat yourself but not to the point where you do yourself a disservice.
Be good to yourself and Happy Holidays!