In this post Sophie shares her thoughts on looking after your wellbeing over the Christmas period.
Christmas time can be full of food, fun, parties and spending time with your loved ones and family. With this in mind, Sophie offers some tips on how to look after your mental health during the festive season.
How we feel and how we spend our time around Christmas will be individual (spending the day in your pyjamas is perfectly acceptable!). However, during the festive time, it is still important to look after your mental health. I have provided below some small actions you can take over the festive season to help look after your wellbeing.
- Christmas and food
- Christmas time is linked with lots of food! However, for some people overindulging and living mainly on a diet of mince pies, party food and chocolates can lead to feelings of guilt.
- Everyone has different Christmas rituals. I like to wake up on Christmas day and eat chocolate for breakfast. Although this is fun for one day I know that I couldn’t eat this way normally so I enjoy it! (Along with all of the other treats!).
- However, sometimes what we eat can affect how we feel. Eating a lot of foods that are high in sugar may cause a low in our mood and can increase feelings of anxiety.
- If you are feeling a bit fed up with beige buffet food over the holidays, try adding some fruit to your breakfast or as a snack or incorporate a portion or two of vegetables into your lunch and dinners.
- Christmas and relationships
- Some people may find spending so much time with other people overwhelming over the holidays.
- Spending some time to yourself is a form of self-care. Examples may be reading for an hour in a quiet place, take a walk or a relaxing bath! You’ll be surprised how refreshed this may make you feel.
- If you are spending a lot of time with family over Christmas, you could also make some plans that you can look forward to outside of family time (e.g. time with friends).
- If you are staying on campus this Christmas, why not reach out to any fellow students you know will be in the area and spend some time together.
- Christmas and alcohol
- The Christmas period can offer plenty of opportunities for consuming alcohol. However, for many drinking a little more than we usually would may affect our wellbeing (such as increased feelings of anxiety and a low mood the following day). One tip to reduce alcohol intake is to drink a glass of water in between each alcoholic drink or opt for a mocktail instead!
- Christmas cheer
- There can be pressure placed upon people to be happy at Christmas time, however, for various reasons this isn’t always possible. This is also perpetuated by what we see in films which is not real life!
- Find yourself an activity that you know will lift your mood even if it’s just a short term boost. An example could be going for a walk (I’m thinking a longer walk than from the sofa to the fridge and back!!) or arrange to meet up with a friend.
- Christmas and social media
- It can be very easy to compare yourself to others on social media. Research suggests social media can lead to social comparisons with others and a negative mood.
- Over Christmas, other people may upload photos showcasing the best parts of their Christmas holiday. Remember that it is not always an accurate reflection of reality.
- If you do log onto social media, you could allocate yourself a specific amount of time to spend on it.Being present is the best present you can offer others.
Final words: Christmas can be a busy time that we often neglect self-care activities. This blog is a reminder that it is OK to spend some time doing activities for yourself. So all that is left to say is, Happy Christmas! Enjoy your time however you choose to spend it!
How do you look after your mental health over the festive period? Or perhaps you will use some of the tips mentioned in this blog post? Tweet us at @ResearchEx, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a comment below.