17 Dec Coping with Christmas, Our guide to ‘managing stress’ this festive season
Welcome to the latest MHScot blog.
With Christmas just a matter of days away, we thought we’d focus on some simple techniques and ways to help you cope with the stresses and strains which Christmas can bring.
As you are no doubt aware, the festive period can be a stressful time of year for most people, but just imagine for a moment how those stresses and strains impact more on people who suffer with poor mental health and, what is supposed to be a joyful, fun time, in fact brings on even more worries, stress and anxiety.
Sadly, a time of goodwill to all also brings with it many extra issues for people with poor mental health to cope with, such as:
- Financial worries – this is the main one that many people cite
- Just having too much to do or being outfaced by the prospect
- Family politics – worries about family harmony and potential arguments/conflicts
- Loneliness – sadly many people dread facing Christmas alone
- Worries about cooking the Christmas Turkey – it’s amazing how all the little stresses mount up
- Pressure from TV, Adverts, Social Media, friends, colleagues to have to have a ‘perfect Christmas’
Thankfully, there are several fairly simple tips and techniques out there, to help you get through this potentially difficult time.
Firstly, you must make sure to use any time off to relax and take time out for yourself – Remember: Time off is time out – and you don’t have to fill every hour of every day with activities, family visits, outings etc and it’s really important that in order to look after your own wellbeing, you need time to relax and unwind.
Also, don’t always think that you have to do everything yourself – it’s ok to delegate to others around you!
One thing to remember is that whilst it’s a good idea not to stray too far from normal routines, it’s absolutely fine to adapt them or make small changes. For example, your exercise could be to enjoy a long wintery walk instead of going to the gym.
Something that’s really key is to keep talking and be sure not to bottle things up. Often, talking about all the worrying things you feel is extremely beneficial and a simple share, with a caring friend or relative, really makes a difference – talking can also help to make you feel supported and feel you are not alone.
Christmas can also be a really good time to get in touch with people you might not speak to regularly as, when catching up with old acquaintances, you can often find people who are great listeners or they might even want to open up to you about similar issues they face – as the old saying goes; a problem shared is a problem halved!
Not to sound too much like a killjoy at Christmas, it’s a good idea not to overindulge too much on food and alcohol over the festive period, as both are key influencers of mood swings, causing both highs and, regrettably, lows too!
Nowadays, social media plays a major part in our everyday lives – so much so that we can often let it totally consume us! In fact, without realising it, social media could actually be playing a part in how you’re feeling. So maybe it’s time to take what is now known as a ‘Digital Detox’ and scale back or maybe even take a complete break from using social media.
Simply by stepping away from your social media accounts, even for just a little while, can make a big difference. It could just be for 24 hours or a number of days, depending on the individual, but we think you might be surprised by the difference it can make.
Finally, try and set some time each day to do something you enjoy! Maybe just something as simple as picking up a book, watch one of your favourite movies or take the dog for a walk.
Wellbeing at Christmas is often a challenge and modern day life does seem to have a direct effect. However, by making sure you stick to these 7 things you can hopefully cope with Christmas in a much better way:
- Time off is time out
- It’s OK to delegate
- Stick to wellbeing routine as much as possible
- Keep talking
- Everything in moderation
- Try a ‘Digital Detox’
- Set yourself some ‘Me Time’
We really hope that you find these few simple things will help to make your festive period a more relaxing and enjoyable time.
We’d like to wish you all a happy, healthy and, most of all, a Christmas period to enjoy.
Happy Christmas from the MHScot team.