Christmas and New Year holidays are associated with joy, celebration and cheer. But holidays can also be stressful as there are so many things that need to be planned and organised – family dinners, gifts, decorations and parties. Also it is hard when so many family members come together with different opinions, emotions and ideas so over holidays we may feel overwhelmed. Moreover it may be hard for some people to meet family members that they only meet on holidays. Also we may feel pressured to have fun and be surrounded with people during holidays. Some people may feel even lonelier and unhappier during holidays as all around everyone is talking about how Christmas and New Year is a time when you need to have fun and be cheerful. So here are some tips on how to mind your mental health over the Christmas and New Year holidays:
Do something relaxing like colouring, solving jigsaw puzzles, playing with your pets, reading a book to manage your stress or even do some relaxing festive activities like dancing and singing to Christmas music, baking gingerbreads, wrapping presents, decorating your house.
Manage family dynamics by choosing wisely to whom you give your time and energy. Try to accept that people have different personalities and opinions. This way you will not feel pressured and overwhelmed.
Be realistic while getting ready for Christmas and New Year. Keep in mind that perfection only happens in movies. Perfectionism will bring feelings of irritation, anger and stress if something does not go the way you planned it.
Ask for support from your family and friends with planning and organising or even just listening to you to tackle feelings of loneliness.
If you are in recovery where you need to abstain from alcohol, drugs or food, the festive season can be especially challenging, so learn to say ‘no’, stick to your routine and distract yourself with activities that you enjoy.
If you have lost a loved one, the festive season can bring up a lot of memories, longing and sadness so try to accept these feelings and do not judge yourself if you want to feel cheerful. Remember people who are still with you and who love you, so it may be a good idea to talk to them about your feelings and maybe it may become a tradition to bring up memories about a loved one you have lost.
Practice mindfulness and breathwork to unwind from all the emotions that you may feel during the festive season.
Exercise to relieve your body from stress related tension that festive season brings.
Take a holiday break from your day-to-day routine whether by relaxing at a hotel spa, skiing in the snowy mountains or walking through busy and unfamiliar streets in some new country. This will help you to relax and reflect on the year and have renewed energy to celebrate Christmas and New Year.
Be kind to others by volunteering, helping neighbours or donating which will benefit you as communicating with people you want to help will tackle feelings of loneliness and relieve stress which we often experience during festive season.
Avoid comparing the way you spent your holidays and presents you bought and received to other people as it will only bring feelings of envy, regret and feelings of inferiority.
Plan how you will spend your money to avoid stress about finances.