There is enormous pressure for us all to have a wonderful time at Christmas and New Year. But for many of us, especially those of us who struggle with addictions and unhealthy dependencies, it is fair to say that our mental health takes a turn for the worse. Just when our body clocks are geared for a hunkering down under the duvets in a semi-hibernation, we often find ourselves in a mad frenzy of shopping, spending money we don’t necessarily have, spending time with work colleagues and family we would normally wish to avoid at all costs and fuelling our winter-depressed bodies with all manner of pastry, sugar and alcohol which only makes us feel worse. Add to this the fact that Christmas is a time when we remember those close to us we have lost, and Christmas can easily become a potent mix of emotional toxicity – and really fuel an increase in our addictive behaviours.
A recent article in the Huffington Post about the perils that Christmas presents for our mental health (you can read the full article here) is a great quick read and outlines some simple approaches that can be helpful in protecting our mental wellbeing during this hardest of seasons:
Share Your Feelings. Whether it is with family, friends, or a trained counsellor, sharing how you are feeling is the first step towards making things better at any time of the year.
Get Out Of The House. It can be tempting just to hibernate, avoid social engagements, and not leave the house, but don’t let the cold weather put you off – even if it’s just a 15 minute walk round the block, this can really help blow your cobwebs away and help with your mental vitality, boosting your self-esteem, helping you to concentrate, sleep and feel better.
Take A Break From Social Media. Perhaps even consider taking a digital detox and stepping away for a little while. It can be 24 hours or days, depending on how you feel, but you might be surprised by the difference.
Give Some Thought To Self-Care. As soon as our mental health suffers, we can all be guilty of not taking the time to address our own self-care (especially around Christmas when we are so busy with other commitments). If you schedule it in, it is more likely to happen.
Remember it’s only temporary and Christmas will pass in the space of 10 or so days. You have survived many Christmases to date, and you will survive this one!
See you on the other side, and I look forward to welcoming you to a fulfilling and meaningful 2018!