Managing mental health at Christmas can be tough.
It’s such a busy time of year. There’s LOTS of socialising, drinking, eating and pressure to spend money.
While it is a magical time for many, it can also be very difficult time for others.
There are a few things you can do to keep managing mental health at Christmas an easy and simple task.
Here are a some of my suggestions.
5 Tips For Managing Mental Health At Christmas
1 – Reframe the word “No”
I think it’s safe to say that a lot of us with anxiety hate saying the word “no” despite how necessary it can be.
Taking everything on and agreeing to everything because you’re afraid to tell people no can put a huge strain on your mental health. Especially at Christmas when your schedule might already be rather full.
It’s perfectly acceptable to turn some invitations down, or to want some downtime over the holiday period.
Try practising a different approach to saying no.
Instead of “No”, say “I’d really love to but I already have plans that evening.”, or “Thank you for thinking of me to do that, I love that I’m the first person you think of but unfortunately I’m so busy over Christmas I wouldn’t be able to do that in time.”
2 – Take a quick break
I’m a huge fan of taking bathroom breaks to get a breather from the social madness at Christmas or any big social event.
It’s not technically avoiding the situation, it’s just taking a quick break so that you can stay in the situation longer without getting overwhelmed or having an anxiety attack.
I like to take a break, breath slowly and deeply for a few minutes and tell myself what a good job I’m doing considering how anxious I am. Then I pull my shoulders back, take another deep breath and walk back into the situation confident and calmly as fuck.
3 – Manage expectations
Think of some possible scenarios that might make your mental health worse over the Christmas period and write down several solutions or outcomes.
If you’re worried about toxic family, have an exit strategy in place or a friend you can call.
If you’re worried about getting too drunk and being out of control, have a plan for making sure you get lots of food and drink water in between drinks, or have a plan to stay completely sober.
If you’re worried about financial stress that tends to be inevitable over Christmas, come up with a strict budget and a plan on how to implement your budget. Tell your friends and family that you’ll be having a frugal Christmas this year.
I find it’s always easier to combat a problem once it’s written down and you’ve had time to think about it.
4 – Don’t take on too much
This goes back to the point of learning how to say “no”. You really don’t have to do absolutely everything.
It’s okay to have a quiet one if that’s what you want.
This year I had it in my head that I would take my kids to see Father Christmas, that we’d go to the Christmas markets, that I’d take them to see the lantern parade and that I’d watch films while putting up the decorations.
The reality was that because I’ve been so unwell over the last few months, I just did not have the energy for any of that.
So instead, I put up some decorations halfway through the month and called it a day. I’ll wait until Christmas day before I do anything else Christmassy and perhaps do the markets and Father Christmas next year when I’m feeling better.
It’s okay if you don’t do it all.
5 – Have support in your pocket
Christmas isn’t the best for everyone, it can be a lonely time and stir up bad memories.
If that’s the case, or if you just find it especially hard maintaining and managing mental health at Christmas, then please make sure you have some support.
If you don’t have real life support in the form of friends and family, please join is at The Anxiety Lounge and at keep us in your pocket for when you need someone to talk to.
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