Christmas is a stressful time of year for many and even more so for those who suffer with mental illness. I know that I’ve been struggling with my anxiety and low mood, so I thought I’d share some tips with you all of things that help me feel more festive.
- Spend time with family and friends who make you happy. Let’s face it, families and friends can be stressful, but how about just making time for those who make you happy? I know for me, spending quality time with my grandparents always puts a smile on my face.
- Don’t feel guilty for saying no. Christmas doesn’t come without masses of events, parties, shopping trips and outings. All of these can wreak havoc on my anxiety (especially when you throw in the mounds of uni work and my jobs that I have to do). So, this being said, do not feel guilty if you turn down some of these. Prioritise the important things, but don’t feel like you have to attend everything!
- Make time for yourself. Linked to the tip above, amongst all the holiday hecticness, don’t forget to set aside some ‘me time’. Chill out with a Christmas film, a face mask and a bath. Christmas is a time for love and happiness, so don’t forget to love yourself, too!
- Linked to the point above, don’t be afraid to put on the Christmas films or bring out the Christmas music. There’s nothing quite like wrapping presents whilst watching a Christmas film to get me feeling Christmassy. My favourite at the moment is The Holiday. I find watching a film that you’ve seen before does wonders for anxiety. You know what to expect and it’s such a huge comfort to me. If music and films aren’t your thing, how about a Christmas book? Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is a classic.
- DO NOT FEEL GUILTY ABOUT PIGGING OUT!!!!! Like seriously this is so important. All the advice out there tells us to ‘stay healthy’, ‘keep a balanced diet’, and whilst that is obviously important, let’s not make ourselves feel like failures if we can’t stick to it. Christmas is a hard enough time for many, anyway, let’s not add foods to the mix of things to stress over and let people eat and drink what they want. Although, I must note that on certain medications for mental illnesses, alcohol is not recommended in excess so it’s worth checking that out with a professional first. Apart from that, eat, drink and be merry!!!!
I hope these tips help you to get through the Christmas period more easily. Please remember that it’s ok not to enjoy Christmas. You don’t have to be a ball of happiness just to please others. Your own mental health is far more important. If you are struggling at all, please please reach out. You can message me whenever. There are also many phone lines you can call such as Samaritans and charities that can help such as Mind.
Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and love always from Rachel xo