Christmas can be a difficult time for those of us who have struggled with mental health issues. It’s a time when the things that usually help us to manage such as a regular routine and a healthy diet, can fall by the wayside. Added to this there is time spent with family which can trigger issues for many of us. It can be a minefield for people who are trying to maintain good mental health whilst also taking part in the social activities that are usually expected of us at this time of year.
How do you look after your mental health at Christmas?
The good news is that now more than ever, there is a lot of help and support out there. People actually talk about mental health these days, and the idea of needing time out for the sake of your mental health is more accepted than ever before.
Tips for taking care of your mental health at Christmas
I am terrible for this. As soon as the party food arrives in the shops I’m eating pigs in blankets for tea, followed by as much chocolate and cake as I can find… and then a week later, I wonder why I feel absolutely awful!
Party food is so tempting and when there’s a lot going on socially it can be hard to make time to prepare decent meals – but it’s important. At least chop up some cucumber to go with your party food!
Take time for you
It can be hard to take time for yourself in between all the parties and other social events – but if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that I need down time. Without it, I really struggle and can go downhill quickly.
If you’re staying with family and can’t retreat to your own space, go out for a walk instead. Or commandeer the bathroom for an hour to have a bath.
Talk to a therapist
If you’re struggling with feelings brought up by the festive season, don’t struggle alone. It can be hard to talk to friends or family at this time of year, without feeling guilty for dragging them down at a The most wonderful time of the year. It can be helpful to speak to a professional so as to relieve that burden. Using an online therapist means you can do this at your convenience, around the other commmitments that often pop up at this time of year.
Keep to some form of routine
For many people who struggle with mental health a routine can be a big help. It can be so helpful to just keep plodding through when times get tough, and so when our routine is disrupted it can disrupt us too. Find ways to keep to your normal routine: eat meals at the same time; attend your normal gym class or whatever else you do. Try to still go to bed and get up at the same time each day; it’s boring, but it’s helpful when it comes to staying on an even keel.
Get outside in the daylight
It is easy at this time of year to end up going days without ever seeing real sunlight. And then there are those weird days between Christmas and new year where we can easily go several days without even leaving the house. It can be nice to hibernate a little, but it’s important to still get outside and get some fresh air.