Christmas is often a busy and hectic period with lots of things going on. From rushing to finish off your final tasks at work, to buying presents and organising family gatherings – there is a lot to think about. It is especially challenging as we face the added stress and uncertainty of Covid-19 this festive season. Mental health doesn’t stop over Christmas, and with cases of depression doubling during the pandemic it is important to recognise the challenges that the holiday season can bring. Financial concerns, loneliness, stress and worry are concerns faced by many over this period. A huge one in four of us in the UK find Christmas harmful to our mental health. Read on to see our tips to help your employees mental health over Christmas.
Generally, at Christmas parties, gatherings and family get-togethers alcohol tends to be free-flowing, this year things are different and people could be drinking due to loneliness and isolation. Consumption is often highest at this time of year and it is important to keep an eye out on our consumption as it negatively impacts both our mental and physical health. Having a soft drink in between each alcoholic drink, avoiding drinking on an empty stomach and being mindful of our limits are good ways to keep on top of over-consumption. Read our tips on alcohol and mental health.
It is easy to find yourself comparing your life to others on social media especially over the festive period. If you are struggling with your mental health and are feeling anxious or low, seeing everyone else’s seemingly happy and cheerful lives can be upsetting. These comparisons can make you feel like your life is not as good as other people’s. It can be a healthy idea to take some time off social media platforms during Christmas. It can also make you feel better writing down three things you are grateful for each night before bed and focus on the positives in your own life, it could be as simple as having a roof over your head.
There are often a lot of expectations placed on Christmas for being a time filled with fun and family, this year things may be different. In our modern society we don’t often live near our families and may only meet up with some family members over Christmas. This can cause friction and tensions to come out especially with the uncertainties of the pandemic. Stress at Christmas is common as many of us are juggling so many things over this period and this year things are heightened. Being realistic with your expectations and understanding that all families have different dynamics means you can avoid disappointment and arguments.
During the festive season, we often neglect our routines and self-care. It is easy to get swept up in all the festive activities and this can result in burnout and stress. It is also important to be mindful that most of us tend to overindulge in food over the Christmas period and this can leave us feeling sluggish and lethargic. It is worth making sure you and your family take some time for exercise and get outside – wrap up warm and enjoy a nice frosty walk in nature. Looking after your physical health over Christmas will make a positive difference to your mental health.
With the stress of cooking, wrapping and running around after everyone we sometimes just need a little time on our own to unwind. If you need some Christmas stress tips try the below:
Financial concerns around Christmas are extremely common with 10% of us regularly worrying about money in the run up to Christmas. If you are struggling with your finances in general don’t get into debt by trying to make one day perfect. It will cause long term worry and stress that can impact your mental health. Manage expectations with children about presents – let them pick one main present and supplement this with smaller gifts such as homemade treats. Talk to other family members about managing the expectations of gifts and maybe limit presents just to children. If you are worried about getting into debt try talking to your HR Lead at work who may be able to offer advice or get in touch with Step Change a debt charity.
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