How to Manage your Mental Health at Christmas Time

12th December 2019

For many people, the festive season is a time for celebration, eating, drinking and spending time with loved ones – but for some of us, the pressures and activities of Christmas can be overwhelming to the point where it can cause more harm than good. This time of year brings lots of additional stresses, such as financial pressures, travelling, family arguments, social activities, increased household chores, excessive alcohol consumption, and loneliness. It’s very important that you take extra care of your mental health and wellbeing during this time – and provide support to your staff members, coworkers, family and friends as well.

If you find yourself struggling this time of year, or know someone else who is, there are some things you can do to help. We have put some together some tips for managing mental health at Christmas – this is a good thing to share with your employees…

Take it easy on the alcohol

Alcohol is one of the biggest features of the festive season, whilst in moderation, it can make you feel jolly, too much of it can make you feel irritable and low. It might even result in you doing something you’ll regret the next day, and can also play a big part in arguments and disagreements. Staying within the recommended limits means you can reduce the negative effects on your mood and will also mean you’re less likely to wake up with a hangover!

Get enough sleep

Our sleeping patterns tend to become disrupted over the Christmas period – we often find ourselves staying up later than usual and not catching up on the sleep we’ve missed. Feeling sleepy can leave you feeling low and can really affect our mental health, so it’s best to try and keep a regular sleep pattern as much as possible.

Have realistic expectations

We often set ourselves unrealistic expectations when it comes to family gatherings, social encounters and gift exchanges, which leads to disappointment and additional pressure to make things ‘perfect’. Avoid comparing your experience to those seen in films or of your friends, remember that people mainly only share the best bits of their lives on social media – you don’t really know what’s going on behind those smiling selfies!

Make time for you

During the festive season, it can be easy to get swept into other people’s ideas of fun. It’s ok to do what you want to do – you know yourself best. Take some time out for you, whether that means spending time relaxing, going to the gym or doing a hobby. This can be hard to do if you have domestic responsibilities like looking after your children, but arranging for your partner or a family member to take them out to give you a break can really help you get your head straight.

Caring for others

Gift-buying isn’t the only way of showing that we care for others, Christmas is the perfect time to reach out to people you haven’t spent much time with this year, people close to you, and even people you would like to get to know more – like your work colleagues. Not only will this bring you closer to people, but will make you feel good! Small gestures can go a long way – people will really appreciate the effort.

It’s okay to ask for help

Christmas can be a stressful time and it’s okay to ask for help. Remember there are people that care about you and there is always someone there to listen – you could meet up with a family member, talk to a friend, or connect with a charity. Talking about your feelings and what is getting you down can improve your mood and make it easier to deal with the tough times.

How to notice poor mental health in employees

As a manager, it’s important that you get to know your employees so you are able to notice any negative signs that may indicate a decline in mental health. Not only do you have a duty of care with your employees, but it can also cause issues for the business like low productivity and poor customer service. If you notice a staff member struggling this Christmas, take the time to speak to them and support them through this time.

Our workplace health and wellbeing program can help you support your employees’ mental health – find out more about our services by getting in touch.

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