Navigating the festive season – a guide to managing mental health at Christmas

20 December 2023 -

The Christmas season is often portrayed as a time of joy, togetherness, and celebration. However, for many individuals, this can be a challenging time for mental health. The pressures of social and work expectations, financial strain, and the emphasis on family can contribute towards feelings of stress, anxiety, and even loneliness. In this blog, we’ll explore practical tips and tricks to help you manage your mental health over the festive season. 


First things first…  


Set Realistic Expectations

  • Acknowledge and believe that the whole season doesn’t have to be perfect. 
  • Set realistic expectations for yourself, taking into consideration your energy levels and personal circumstances and then focus on creating meaningful moments. 


Budget Mindfully

  • Financial stress is a universal concern during Christmas.
  • Create a budget that works for you and stick to it to avoid unnecessary strain. 
  • Consider alternatives, thoughtful gifts that don’t break the bank can be anything from homemade baked goods to a DIY self-care kit, with a candle and a face mask! 
  • Communicate openly with friends and family about your gift-giving expectations for both giving and receiving gifts. 


Establish Boundaries

  • Learn to say no when you need to.
  • Overcommitting can lead to burnout and in turn increase your stress levels. 
  • Have open and honest conversations with loved ones about your boundaries and needs to help identify triggers and manage them effectively.  


Prioritize Self-Care

  • Make self-care a priority throughout the festive period. 
  • Schedule in time for activities that bring you joy and relaxation, whether that’s reading your favorite book, taking a walk, or simply practicing mindfulness. 
  • Ensure you’re getting enough sleep and maintaining a balanced diet, Christmas can’t all be about chocolates and champaign! 


And finally… 


Connect with Others

  • Reach out to friends or support networks if you’re feeling isolated. You could attend social gatherings within your community or even consider smaller, more intimate settings if large crowds are overwhelming. 


Remember, it’s okay not to feel festive all the time, everyone is battling something so you’re never alone. Prioritizing your mental health during the Christmas and new year is crucial for your overall well-being. By setting realistic expectations, establishing boundaries, and engaging in self-care, you can navigate the season with greater ease, and focus on the aspects that truly bring you joy. If challenges do arise and you need support, having a chat with friends, family, or mental health professionals is a courageous and positive step toward a flourishing festive season.