countdown to christmas
There’s no deny it, the countdown to Christmas is well and truly upon us all. Although Christmas is a time of celebration with our family and friends (and hopefully this year will definitely make up for the one we missed in 2020), it can also be a time of extra stress for all of us but especially for anyone suffering with mental health issues.
Mental health doesn’t take a few days off at Christmas unfortunately, and with all the added stress that we can find ourselves with, it’s even more important to take care of your emotional, mental and physical well-being.
So I thought I would give you 12 ways to create some Calmness at Christmas.
1. PLAN AHEAD – AVOID PROCRASTINATION
This seems so obvious, but Christmas always seems to creep up on us by surprise every year, and all the good intentions of starting early never really happen. Lists are your best friend, writing things down rather than it taking up too much room in your head and make a plan of when things need to happen by. Create some realistic deadlines to have certain things done. And start now, even if it’s just something small.
2. DON’T GIVE YOURSELF TOO MUCH TO DO
We often feel it won’t be Christmas without all the bells and whistles. It really is just a glorified Sunday. If you can pare things back a bit to make it easier then do it. Delegate some tasks out to other family members if you can.
3. TAKE SOME TIME OUT – IT’S OK TO SAY NO
In all the rush of trying to fit everything in, don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ if that’s how you feel. You are not being selfish by saying no or asking for help. Make sure you take some time out if you can where you have nothing planned and you can enjoy the time for yourself. Self care is so important. Listen to music, read a book, take a long soak in the bath or do some simple breathing exercises to help you unwind.
4. CHRISTMAS CHEER
It’s very easy to over indulge at Christmas with too much food and alcohol. But drinking too much can leave you feeling irritable and low rather than raising your spirits, taking the edge of your feelings or helping you get through it.
5. ACTS OF KINDNESS
Doing small random acts of kindness for others is scientifically proven to improve our mood and stress levels. And now is the perfect time to do things for others. Maybe think about volunteering, donating to a charity, giving some food to your local food bank or putting together a Christmas shoebox. It can help take your mind off your worries, and give you a sense of purpose and perspective.
6. CONNECT WITH OTHERS
Christmas is all about being with family and friends and spending time together. But why not think about those who may be on their own, reach out with a phone call, drop a card in or call in on your neighbour and make a small connection with someone, it may make all the difference to that person. And a positive knock on effect is how it makes you feel too!
7. GET OUTSIDE
Take a winter walk – remember there is no such thing as the wrong sort of weather, just the wrong sort of clothing! Getting out into nature is crucial for our mental health, and I can almost guarantee it will lift your mood. It’s a great opportunity to be really ‘in the moment’, so take the time to really notice everything around you. It could be the best ‘present’ you give yourself.
Get plenty of sleep. When you don’t sleep properly you find problem solving difficult and you begin to feel low. Your emotions become unstable and, if that continues for too long, it can lead to mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety. Lack of sleep can also affect our productivity, and as there’s more to do than usual – it’s even more important to get those 8 hours in.
9. LIST YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS FOR 2021
Rather than thinking about the things you haven’t done – flip it around and make a list of what you have done. It is a great time to reflect on the things you have managed to achieve over the past year. Always look for the positives. It can also help you set your intentions for what you want to do in 2022.
10. UNPLUG – DON’T COMPARE
It can be very easy to think that everyone else is having a better time and having the perfect Christmas, especially if we spend too much time scrolling through our social media. While we are spending time with our family why not unplug from social media and concentrate on the people you are with, and be more in the moment.
11. GET CREATIVE
This the perfect time of year to get creative, making festive decorations or homemade presents. When we switch off and let our creative side take over we automatically switch off from our worries. It creates a meditative, almost trance like state where worries and stresses can take a back seat. When we are in this state of mind, we often subconsciously allow our minds to come up with a solution to our problem. It’s a perfect way to unwind and relax.
12. (And finally from that well known wintery film)
? LET IT GO, LET IT GO ?
If there are things happening that you are worried about, take a step back and ask yourself if you can realistically do anything about it. If it’s out of your control, allow yourself to let it go.