The twinkling bright stars, the delicacies and the drinks, the presents and the plum cake, the Christmas tree and Santa – all remind us of the fun and frolic and excitement that make up the christmas season. Friends, it’s time to raise the toast and wrap yourself in the magic of the Christmas celebration with Christmas carols reverberating in all the corners. However, before getting all soaked in the festive mood of the season, remind yourself to steer clear of the triggers that can affect your mental health. It is important to be careful because there is always a possibility of falling in the trap of addiction or suffering from a relapse, leading to the need of seeking help from a counsellor or a mental health expert for correct diagnosis and treatment.
While there are certain instant triggers to a bad mental health, there can be other factors as well that can play a role in the worsening of the condition and making it last a little longer, such as a death or a mishap involving a loved one, already existing mental health condition, etc. Apart from these, stress during Christmas can also develop because of certain tasks like managing travel, food, alcohol, financial pressure and other household chores. Therefore, one must ensure that he/she takes necessary steps and proper care of his/her mental health this Christmas.
Christmas and its impact on mental health
It might sound unreasonable that a time booked for spending time with family, having fun and not thinking about work can cause stress. However, the fact is that Christmas is that time of the year when an individual runs the highest risk of developing mental health issues. There are several factors that increase the risks associated with poor mental health at Christmas. Some of them include:
- Financial stress and worries
- Feeling of loneliness, especially those who have experienced loss of a loved one
- Unnecessary social engagements
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Bad weather
- Extensive shopping list
- Lack of sleep
How to cope with mental health at Christmas
It is very likely for any individual to get affected by some or the other form of mental illness at Christmas. Therefore, it is important to stay cautious and know about some easy to implement some Christmas mental health tips:
- Plan and stick to your budget
It is very likely that a person has a long list of friends and family members. Though this might sound a great way to enhance the Christmas fun and excitement, it is important to understand the need of planning a budget in advance and sticking to it. Doing so will help you in allotting adequate amount to each section, instead of concentrating on just one area, such as spending lavishly on gifts only.
2. Set limits
Setting the limits wherever required is a great way to stay mentally healthy this Christmas. Set boundaries, be it related to money, expectations, the tasks to be done or the parties to attend. This will help you understand what needs to be done, along with reducing the stress, to a large extent.
3. Do not over-indulge in shopping
Shopping is an essential part of the festive season. But one must understand that over-doing can hurt your pocket and your mental health because of the financial burden. Therefore, one must try avoiding any unnecessary expenses and stress.
4. Avoid cooking
Cooking during the festive season can be a stressful task as a person is already overloaded with the task of managing a large number of guests. One must remember that Christmas is not the time to impress your guests but to enjoy the festivities. Order food from a restaurant or plan a potluck for all your guests to celebrate the occasion.
5. Don’t expect too much
Christmas is the time to enjoy and celebrate, but it can actually trigger a lot of stress and worries. Therefore, it is important for an individual to stay mindful and ensure that he/she stays away from the situations that can trigger an argument or stress. Practicing relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation can help a person stay calm and happy.
6. Avoid drinking too much
It is true that alcohol is considered an integral part of the Christmas celebration, but indulging in excessive drinking can have dangerous effects on an individual’s health and well-being. One must try and opt for fresh fruits and vegetables instead of alcohol as much as he/she can.
7. Exercise regularly
Following your regular exercise routine is a great way to keep up the spirit and enjoy the festivities to their best. Exercising regularly is a great way to boost one’s mood as it increases the serotonin level in the human brain and in turn, reduces the high stress level.
8. Maintain a good sleeping pattern
Excessive sleep is as dangerous as lack of sleep because both can trigger the development of mental health problems like anxiety and depression. Therefore, one must maintain a healthy sleeping pattern and spend some ‘me’ time to maintain a calm and composed demeanor.
9. Avoid being isolated
To stay healthy, it is important for an individual to avoid staying aloof as much as possible. It is likely that a person might be left out or stays alone during Christmas but he/she must understand that staying in touch with loved ones can be a great trick to avoid the risk of developing any mental health issues.
10. Draw inspiration from the past
The experiences from the past serve as a great help to stay inspired and decide our future course of action. There can be a mix of experiences, both good and bad, which, in turn, keeps the person in a better position to start the New Year afresh and face the challenges smartly as and when they come throughout the year.
11. Be kind
Offering help to someone in need or volunteering for an act of kindness is a great way to uplift your spirits, stay inspired and improve your mental health.
12. Take a break
Though it might seem too difficult to be true, taking a break can be a great way to keep your stress level in check. Engaging in activities of interest, such as going for a walk, listening to music or gardening can be a great way to boost your mood. At times, saying a polite ‘no’ to your guests who are planning to come over to your place can also serve as a great help.
13. Plan things well in advance
Keep everything planned in advance as managing things at the last moment can lead to a lot of stress and chaos. Delegating tasks to the loved ones and requesting for their help, if required can help ensure that you celebrate Christmas in the best mood and spirit.
14. Stock up your medications
One must remember that it would get really difficult to contact doctors or purchase medications from pharmacies during holiday season. So you must keep the medications in stock and keep a note of all the emergency numbers. Doing so will help you prevent any sort of emergency situation. If need arises, accessing help would be much easier by simply dialing a contact number and asking for help.
15. Maintain the mental health basics
In order to lead a healthy life, it is important to continue following a healthy routine just the way you used to before the holiday season. Be it a good night sleep, taking proper medications or practicing meditation, following your routine is important. One must remember that Christmas is all about a day, but practicing your daily regimen is about the entire year and one’s whole life.
Mental health problems and Christmas is a major concern every year in different parts of the world. With a number of factors leading to these problems, it is important for every individual to ensure that he/she stays alert and avoids the risk of getting affected by all sorts of mental health problems. Follow these tips and ensure that you lead a happy and healthy life.