Seven ways to look after your mental health this holiday season

While the holiday season can be an exciting time for many, for others it can be somewhat stressful. Large family gatherings, social outings, gift shopping, financial hardship or loneliness can feel overwhelming for some. As the holiday season kicks into full swing, it is important to ensure you’re looking after your mental health.

Lysn psychologist Bethany Howsley provides her top tips:

Create boundaries 

It is the busiest time of year for most people and without practicing boundaries you might find that you’ve spread yourself too thin. You have a choice in how you’d like to spend the festive period and with whom. Remember that you don’t need to say yes to every invite you receive and it’s perfectly acceptable to respectfully decline an invitation. 

Be mindful of over indulgence  

Christmas can be a time of over indulgence, especially when it comes to over eating, and excessive alcohol consumption. While it’s OK to indulge ourselves from time to time, it’s important that we can practice bringing in some balance in between celebrations and events.  

Plan ahead 

Have a plan ahead a time for things like presents, holiday spendings, and the gatherings around Christmas time. Speak with your loved ones ahead of time about how you can fairly share the responsibilities of Christmas so that one person is not left to organise everything. 

Be mindful of expectations 

We can often put a large emphasis on the festive period which can create additional pressure and stress during this time. Reflect on your expectations of yourself and others during this holiday period and be practice compassion. Your home does not need to look like something off Instagram or Pinterest, nor do you need to overextend yourself by cooking the biggest food spread ever. Keep in mind the things that truly matter during this time. 

Self care 

Make sure that you’re taking enough time for yourself during this period. Ensuring that you are taking good care of yourself, engaging in some form of exercise or movement, and having enough quality sleep are all vital to your mental health and wellbeing. 

Spending time outdoors

Make sure you take some time to get out into nature and away from the festive madness. Being in nature allows us to connect back with ourselves and to become more grounded and present. 

Journal practice 

The festive period is not always a fun or joyous time for people, especially if you’ve had a particularly challenging year. People with difficult family dynamics or those who are separated from loved ones can also find this time particularly challenging. It’s important to find a practice that allows you to express and process any feelings which may come up for you during this time. Daily journalling can be a helpful way to express your thoughts and emotions and increase self awareness and compassion. You can also use this space to reflect on your year, the things you’ve learned and what goals or aspirations you have for 2021. 

Bethany Howsley is a clinical psychologist from Lysn. 

Lysn is a digital mental health company with world class wellbeing technology which helps people find their best-fit professional psychologist whilst being able to access online tools to improve their mental health.

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