It’s no secret that I love Christmas. I look forward to it every year and find myself full of anticipation, excitement but also some anxiety. It can be quite a common mix of emotions, with many of us travelling or spending the holiday with our families and friends. And with that, can come some stress and little time to relax. This time around, I wanted to make sure I found time to rest and I wanted to share those ideas with you. So let’s dive into how to relax and rest over the Christmas break to help your mental health.
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Christmas can be tough. Many of us find Christmas stressful whether it be due to hosting, social interactions or just the general hubbub of the holiday period. Many are still working whilst trying to juggle the festivities, so no wonder lots of us don’t feel rested come the new year. For me, Christmas is super exciting, but also anti-climactic. I am swept up in the festiveness of it all and then very quickly, feel deflated once it’s all over. It’s taken me a long time to realise the anxiety I feel around these gatherings. From social anxiety, to worrying about the financial impact, I feel a lot of things in a very short space of time. I know I am not alone, and that many others struggle with the holidays. This year made me quite reflective, and so I thought about what I can do to better prepare myself, as well as ensure I can take time to relax and rest over the Christmas break. So I pulled together a little list that I really hope can also help you too!
Be present and in the moment
We are all suckers for Instagramming (and every other social media platform out there) parts, or all, of our waking lives. With socials, comes a level of anxiety. You worry about who has or has not seen your posts, your engagement etc., I honestly could go on, but when it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter. The people in the room matter. I find popping my phone on ‘do not disturb’ and putting it away helps me to be present. It helps me to be a part of the day and enjoy all the moments that I might have missed. This isn’t just a trend either. I’ve noticed lots of high profile people, including celebs such as Stacey Solomon, opting to do this each year. There is something to be said for being present and relishing those memories.
Don’t stretch yourself too thin
If you’re anything like me, Christmas planning starts early but the day itself is always rushing at you full steam ahead. It’s quite easy to stuff your social calendars, or just general calendars, with lots of things to do. Alongside work, those 3 short weeks can feel incredibly stressful so it’s important to notice the signs of feeling overwhelmed and take a step back. You don’t need to do everything, and it’s okay not to. Sometimes, just taking a breather helps to get some headspace!
Grab some time to read that book
Obviously I couldn’t do a post without recommending grabbing some time to read a book. The one benefit to Christmas is that there is no expectation attached to your time. You can spend it how you like. I am a big advocate for utilising time for reading as it is a brilliant way to decompress and wind down. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, grab that book and take some time for yourself.
You are not tied by obligation
Tying into the notion of not stretching yourself too thin, is that feeling of obligation. It’s Christmas and there is a level of expectation that comes with it; however, you are not obligated to spend your time where you feel it negatively affects your mental health. If a situation is very stressful or spikes your anxiety, you do not have to be there or attend. Take strength in saying no to things which you feel would set you backwards or because you need a break. One thing to note is that if you see a friend or family member struggling with these situations, try reaching out to them. They may just need a comforting hand or some support
It may be cold outside but I bet you’ve got a thick snuggly coat and scarf right? Grab them both, chuck them on and get outside. Being outside is one of the smallest things you can do to make a huge impact on your mental wellbeing. For me, dog walks are the key. A short 30 minute walk outside greatly improves my mental health. It gives you space to reflect on the day, week, month or year and can be a great way to give you some space from a stressful or anxiety-fuelled situation. If you feel yourself getting stressed or overwhelmed, try going out for 20 minutes. You’ll be surprised about how you feel after.
These are some tips which have worked for me this past Christmas. Do you do any of these or are there things you would do?
As ever, happy reading!