It's the most wonderful time of the year…
Or so they keep telling us.
Xmas doesn't always look like it does in the movies, though. For many, it’s even a far cry from the average Christmas commercial.
But contrary to what we’ve been led to believe, that’s OK.
There’s so much pressure for Christmas to be perfect and magical when, actually, it can be a hard time for a lot of people. And if you’re feeling like that, you’re not the only one.
In fact, more than a quarter of people find Christmas more challenging than any other time of year.
Essentially, holiday stress, depression and loneliness are real. And you know what? We don’t acknowledge the symptoms of this season enough.
But whether you reckon the Xmas period is a total cracker or, in fact, a complete turkey, we’ve got you covered. These tried-and-tested Christmas coping mechanisms will help bring a little cheer to what can be, for many, a tough time of year. So grab yourself a mince pie, get cosy and let’s get into this…
Prioritise The ‘me’ In Merry
Without even knowing it, we can lay some lofty expectations on ourselves this time of year. Like spending every waking minute with people we don’t choose to see so often. Which can be difficult when our lifestyles and world views don’t align with others, especially family.
It’s OK to spend some time alone, though.
In fact, if you’re not used to being so social, we’d recommend it. So go for a walk, head to the gym or take your book upstairs for an hour. It’s your break too so make room for some ‘me time’ - whatever that looks like. Speaking of which…
Tis’ The Season For Self-Care
With work out the window and your social calendar filling up, it’s easy for day-to-day life to feel out of sorts. Sure, social time is great and a crucial part of a solid self-care routine - but everything’s better in moderation. So keep an eye on the other five self-care categories in your life (physical, financial, spiritual, professional and emotional) to make sure life feels balanced. For example:
Physical - go for a jog or squeeze in a session at the gym in the morning before the day’s festivities begin. Even if it’s not your usual amount of time, anything is better than nothing.
Financial - sure, Christmas can be pricey. But set out your seasonal budget and you’ll never feel completely out of control with your festive spending.
Spiritual - take five minutes each day for mindful meditation or check-in on your emotions through journaling. Alternatively, wrap up warm and take yourself for a walk in some open space.
Professional - the sudden end of work can feel disconcerting for some. And that free time can lead to more space in your mind to stress about the job; in particular, what you might end up coming back to. Try not to worry. Just take 10 minutes to set out a plan for your first week back at work and you’ll feel much more in control.
Emotional - it’s easy to fall into the trap of imagining the things you don’t have or are missing out on this time of year; especially with those relentless seasonal supermarket ads. That’s why there’s no better time than Christmas to practise gratitude. Start by listing three things you are grateful for in your journal and you’ll soon feel the benefits.
Not sure where to start? We’ve outlined 9 simple self-care ideas you can try right now.
But seasonal self-care doesn’t have to mean re-writing the rulebook; quite the opposite, in fact.
There's Christmas Comfort In Routine
It can sometimes feel like a mountain of a task getting back into your routine post-Christmas - we get it.
But it doesn’t have to be such a mission. Not if you never get out of your routine in the first place.
OK, we know that sounds easier said than done. And some things are inevitably going to slip by the wayside. But there are some quick and easy habits you can up. Try regulating your bedtime or, at the least, the number of hours you’re getting a night. Keeping a consistent routine will make all the difference to your mood and energy levels.
Not sure how to stay on top of things in all the Christmas chaos? Try using the habit tracker inside the Balance Planner to help maintain some semblance of your day-to-day. Remember, only you know what’s best for you so don’t feel pressured to step outside of your comfort zone.
You’re Not A Grinch For Saying “No”
For a time that’s supposed to be full of festive cheer, Christmas can feel anxiety-inducing if you’re not used to the level of socialising this time of year brings. Listen to your body and only do what feels comfortable to you.
Easier said than done, we know. But saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful, overwhelmed and even burnt out.
And you know what? It’s just not worth it.
At the end of the day, your friends, family and colleagues should understand if you need to duck out. So, put yourself top of your Xmas list this year - it’s your break after all.
So what’s the best gift you can get yourself? Balance. After all, Christmas may only come once a year but it’s you that’s had your back every other day.
Feeling depressed, anxious or alone this year? There's help if you need it.
There’s Help If You Need It
Christmas can feel especially difficult for some. But try and remember that you’re never alone. Wherever you are, whatever you’re going through, there’s help available. Here are some organisations that are around over the holidays if you need someone to talk to.