Looking after your Mental Health during Christmas
Christmas time can be full of emotions, happy, exciting, joyful, cheery and of course merry. But it can also bring a whole host of another set of emotions, some we don't want, those can include; anxiety, sadness, loneliness, grief, depression among others.
In this blog post, we're going to talk about managing those emotions at Christmas and how best to combat them. These are simple steps, but we must reiterate that they are not professional cures. They are merely taken from past experience.
I'm writing this from my personal experience. This is a short and succinct list, but they are the important steps which I find help me.
1. Talk about your feelings
One of the most important parts of my recovery, personally, was talking about how I was feeling. When I started talking about my feelings to people I loved, I recognised it made me feel better, so I did it more and more and eventually talking about my mental health and feelings came naturally to me and still does to this day. If you feel uncomfortable opening up about your feelings to someone, the next best thing is either writing them down in a notebook, on your phone or actually drawing them down which is what I used to do in my darkest days.
2. Take a break
This time of year can be incredibly stressful, not just because of the pressure of present buying, money can play a factor and so can the fear of being alone. With that in mind, it's important to take a break (from everything). It's a time for rest, rejuvenation and relaxation. Do not feel you need to attend every social event, this time of year is also about you and recovering from the year behind. Remember to take a break, there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing that and do not feel bad for doing it. For me, burnout has always been a bit of a worry so when I start to recognise that my mental health is flagging, I take a day off and do nothing at all, rest is an incredibly important part of looking after myself. Once I've had one of these days, I know I'll feel better the next day.
4. Ask for help
One of the most common fears when suffering from a mental illness is fear of asking for help, as one will always worry what others think of them and whether you are weird, going crazy or losing your mind. The reaction is quick different to what your mind is telling you. Asking for help is actually one of the best things I ever did, it meant I didn't feel alone and other people knew about what I was going through, which alleviated some of my anxieties. A very small part of the problem was not knowing what other people would think, when I asked for help this changed. Always remember asking for help is usually the best thing to do, and people don't think all the things you are thinking.
5. You are NOT alone
Lastly and most importantly, you are not alone. It's one of the most difficult thoughts I had when I was severely ill, but understanding you are not alone and that there are other people out there in the same position as you, can be an incredibly comforting feeling. So please, always remember, you are NOT alone.
If you are experiencing any thoughts which you are worried about, it's important to seek help and advice. Check out our Help & Advice for further information.