Christmas can be a challenging time for many people, particularly this year. Whilst adverts and movies show happy families and days of frivolity, the reality is many people find this time of year isolating and emotionally challenging. Considering it is just one day, many families feel under pressure to make it enjoyable, which in turn makes it harder than it needs to be.
If you can relate, we’ve got a care plan to keep you in check should you feel more Scrooge than Santa.
1. Exercise can help rescue a bad mood
The exercise regime goes out of the window at this time of year, but it can really help our mental health, especially when feeling drained. Exercising at home is adaptable, convenient, and you can do it in-between binge watching Christmas films. As little as 15 minutes can help to shake a low mood or feelings of anxiety.
Yoga with Adriene has a great Youtube channel for all your yoga needs https://youtu.be/r7xsYgTeM2Q and when you want something less yoga based check out https://youtu.be/UltWltVZZme for a 30 minute workout.
2. Remember your breath
The breath is a great tool for grounding the body, and can be really powerful in helping yourself to relax, especially when nothing else seems to be working. This website has some great tips and advice, and there are some excellent phone apps with mindfulness programmes and sleep stories.
3. Nature is a great healer
Nature and green space helps you to take time out and relax, to connect with something deeper than yourself. It's proven to reduce blood pressure, muscle tension and heart rate, as well as reduce the production of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. You can find out more about the benefits at Mind.org.
4. Creativity - Express yourself
Christmas can be a time where we are drowned with material goods and the need to buy presents can almost seem mandatory. But it doesn’t have to be. The break is a perfect time to connect to your creative side. Why not try making your presents this year. There are many gifts that you can turn your hand at don't be afraid to give it a go.
If you're stuck for ideas here's a few to get you going:
- handmade soaps and facemasks
- printed photography or painting
countryliving.com also has some lovely ideas.
5. Don't forget to take a break
When you’re surrounded by family it can all get a little too much. Remember there’s nothing stopping you taking a step back from the festive fun if you feel overwhelmed. Why not take some alone time with a relaxing candle lit bath, try to watch a film or read a book alone. Having some time to recharge can really be helpful. Tolstoytherapy.com is a great resource for books on mental health and emotions, maybe keep one in your bag to refer to.
6. Talk about it
Toxic family members can trigger all sorts of nastiness within ourselves. But you could try stopping these talks before they start, preempt what’s to come by taking them out for coffee and having a proper chat one-to-one far away from prying ears, alternatively try writing a letter explaining how you feel.
Christmas can leave people feeling very lonely. According to age uk “More than half a million people in the UK expect to feel lonely this Christmas.” You may be surrounded by family or friends but still be feeling lonely, and that's okay. Try to practise self-kindness or check online for a like-minded groups near you that you can join with, community is a great way to connect to others and is something that humans thrive on. If you find yourself estranged this Christmas, check out Stand Alone's festive guide for extra support.
8. Angry at Auntie
Family coming together can be such a tricky period for a lot of people, dreading the aunt that constantly asks why you're not married or don’t have children and you may find old emotions rising that you thought you had well and truly healed. With a little preparation you can avoid any showdowns by having a anger toolkit to refer to when times get challenging:
- Know your stress triggers. Walk away. Take a deep breath
- Keep your energy for things you can control
- Sleep well
- Focus on the good
9. Eat Well, Feel Well
Many people throw their normal diet out the window over Christmas, it’s the perfect time for over-indulging. Many use Christmas as an excuse to ‘let their hair down’ but it can really help to keep alcohol intake in moderation. Try to maintain a balanced diet, eating a lot of highly refined sugars can worsen symptoms of mood, and an intake of unhealthy processed carbs can cause blood sugars to rise and fall rapidly. If you find your mood swings are worse than ever over Xmas why not try this health guide.
10. Try to ‘find your Hygge’
'Hygge' is a Danish word for a feeling of contentment,, the warm fuzzy feeling you get under a warm blanket when it’s raining outside. What's your version of Hygge this Christmas, and can you find one? We hope that you are able to enjoy this time of year and find something that is special to you 🎅🎅🏿