5 Tips to protect your mental health this festive season

How Can We Maintain Our Mental Wellbeing During the Holiday Season?

Trying to maintain mental well-being can be difficult during the holiday season. Stress, family pressure, and depression are some of the common challenges that people experience during this time. There are ways to combat these negative emotions and enjoy the holiday spirit without becoming stressed or feeling depressed.

One way is to understand your priorities and find a balance between work, family, and your own needs. It is important for us as human beings not to forget about our own well-being because we often put others first. We should always be mindful of our own mental health by taking time out of the day (or week) to do things that we enjoy such as reading or exercising or meeting with friends.

"try to make a change by doing something meaningful and practical with your time today or tomorrow"

1. Do Something Meaningful and Practical

The holiday season is here, but the commercialism of Christmas has become more of a burden than a blessing. Many people each year feel more and more this way. One way to avoid this problem is to do something meaningful and practical with your time. This could be volunteering at a soup kitchen or shelter, donating food or toys, or just being kind to other people in your community.

Every year, when December rolls around, we get bombarded by reminders about how much money we don't have and how little we've done for others in our lives. This can be very discouraging and even depressing during the Festive season. If you feel this way, try to make a change by doing something meaningful and practical with your time today or tomorrow!

2. Spend Time with Family and Friends

This Festive season, be mindful of the time you spend with family and friends. Work with forging that connection you might not have through the rest of the year.

Rather than spending hours on social media or scrolling through your phone, why not spend time looking at each other’s faces and enjoy the physical presence of each other; that might have been absent in the past year?
And when it comes to gift exchanges, take some time to talk about what is important to you; and the meaning of the gifts you are giving.

3. Be Mindful of Your Eating Habits

The only way to avoid overeating, overspending, and other similar habits is to be mindful of them.

When we feel like we're helpless to resist certain behaviours, it's usually because we've been giving ourselves the wrong cues. For instance, if you find yourself constantly overeating or overspending, it's not because you lack willpower; it's because you've been giving your brain the signals that it's okay to indulge. And what better season of the year than this one to “indulge” yourself, right?

"...savour each mouthful..."

Mindful eating is not about dieting, or even restricting yourself. Quite the opposite. It is about taking the time to savour each mouthful, noting all the textures of the food you are eating; and how many different flavours could you find. It is about taking the time to enjoy a meal, sat at a table, without staring at a screen. Benefits, such as easier digestion, more connection with others, and what you are doing at the moment; can help you to feel less stressed and reduce anxiety levels.

4. Say "No" Sometimes

Every day, we are faced with people asking for our time or energy. At work, it can be busy co-workers who need help from you. Outside of work, it can be a loved one who needs a favour.

It's a hard thing to say no to the people we love and care about; especially during the festive season. But at some point, we all must learn how to say no if we want to take care of ourselves and stay mentally healthy.

Can you remember a previous festive season, when you said yes to everything and then ended up not being as enjoyable as you thought? Or maybe, you even ended up regretting it? Well, this year, soon to be over, make it about your mental sanity. If there was one thing that you could say “no” to, and you know that would help you to enjoy better this season, what would that be?

5. Take Care Of Yourself!

In the context of stress, it is important to understand that stress is a response to a demand on the body. To be able to cope with stress, we have to know how it affects our mind and body.

As for our body, stress can cause us difficulty sleeping, difficulty breathing, and an increased heart rate. It can lead to stomach and gut-related problems (which I see a number of people for this issues) and tension headaches. It can even cause a person’s hairline to recede or their skin tone to change, among others.

For the mind, there are different ways in which it affects people too: some have trouble focusing while others have trouble concentrating while others have chronic anxiety or depression.

"mind and body are one"

With all that in mind, when we talk about self-care, we should not do it lightly. For mothers, for example, taking a shower is not self-care, that’s hygiene. Self-care is something that we need to do to keep or improve our level of health (bodily & mental). When thinking about taking care of yourself, how do you picture yourself doing that? Seriously, close your eyes and see yourself doing it. Now, when can you make that a reality? Put it now in your diary if you can. Because this is about taking care of yourself. And it should be as regular as possibly needed.

 

To conclude, mind and body are one. We are what we eat, disregarding the season of the year. We take care of ourselves in different ways, and the festive season should not be the only season of the year when you do it, or opposite to that; should not be the season of the year when you forget to do it. Make the festive season, truly festive for you and your loved ones. Take care of yourself and your body, as you are taking care of others.

From the bottom of my heart, I wish you the best festive season you could have; and a New Year full of hope and wishes.

Laura A.
Maternal Coach & Hypnotherapist
Founder of Mind the Mother
@mind.the.mother

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