As we head into the Christmas period, it's important to be mindful of your own mental health and that of others.
Take time to recharge. There is never a perfect moment to take time out from the hustle and bustle of life. It may seem selfish but taking care of yourself is essential so that you can continue being there for others. Make sure you have at least one day where you don't have any obligations or plans, as this can help give your mind space so that it doesn't feel overloaded. It might even be worth writing down all the things which are stressing you out so they're not muddling in your head anymore - sometimes just getting them down on paper helps put things into perspective!
It’s okay to be alone sometimes.
Spending time alone is important. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the festive season, take a break from social media and reconnect with yourself.
If you are feeling anxious about being alone during Christmas, try to find some quiet time for yourself to relax and calm down. If you are feeling sad about your situation, try not to focus on these feelings, as that can make things worse. Instead, try to stay positive by making plans that will make you feel good again.
If you're on your own or struggling to feel connected to other people during the festive season, it can be helpful to remind yourself that feeling alone isn't your fault. You might be in a situation where you don't have family or friends around you at this time of year, which is totally understandable and OK. There are a lot of people who will be experiencing similar things as you. Maybe try seeking them out to share the holidays together.
Be considerate of what other people are going through during the holidays.
It's important to keep in mind the feelings of others. Try to make a point of being kind and considerate towards everyone that you see, including people who might seem like they have it all together. Everyone is fighting a silent battle, and a little bit of kindness can go a long way during stressful periods.
Stay connected to friends, family, and your support networks.
It can be easy to withdraw from others during these times, but that's not always helpful. In fact, it might exacerbate the feeling of being alone. So, reach out! Call up a friend who knows you well and ask them to meet at a coffee shop so you can chat over some tea or hot chocolate. Maybe you want to Zoom with a family member across the country or find another way to get in touch with those far away.
Don't isolate yourself! You may have thought about canceling social plans because it will make things easier. Or maybe you thought about skipping out on holiday work commitments because they seem less important. Remember that this time of year is also an opportunity for connection and joy in unexpected places; often times there are other people who need are looking for connection just like you.
Set realistic expectations.
If a lot of people are coming over, don’t try to cook everything and clean everything. Instead, do some pre-planning and make sure you have enough ingredients and food on hand to make a few dishes. You can also ask friends or family members to bring some things to make it easier on yourself. Nothing amazing is ever accomplished alone!
Don't compare yourself to other people. It's okay if your house isn't as pristine as it usually is in December—it's not even about the aesthetics, really; it's about having time for yourself and for spending treasured time with loved ones during this busy time of year! If there's enough food for everyone and all the bills are paid, that should be good enough for now.
Be kind to yourself. You are not alone in the busyness of the holidays. Remember that there is always someone who needs some extra love, so go out and find them! And don’t forget to give some extra love to yourself, too.
Digital images by Stacey Posnett