We love all the jolly stuff that comes with Christmas. It’s good to gather together, it’s good to celebrate and it’s good to see people you love. But Christmas can be a really tough time for so many of us. It can feel as though it comes with heaps of pressure, whether that’s financial, logistical or emotional. If life has been rocky recently, or you’ve lost someone you love then this time of year can feel overwhelming and lonely.
Here are a few thoughts that might be useful over the coming weeks. Be kind to yourself.
1. Don’t compare yourself to other people. For some reason this time of year can feel like one big judgey-comparison-fest. Don’t allow this pressure to weigh you down. You are exactly where you’re supposed to be in life. People around you may have better grades, fancier cars, rosy relationships and tales of exotic adventures, but remember that nobody’s life is perfect as they might make out. It might be a good time to take a break from social media if this kind of thing makes you feel bad. Comparison is the thief of joy.
2. Eat and drink in moderation. It kind of pains me to type that...I am not one to miss an eating opportunity. But I also need to remind myself that there’s a point where you can tip over the edge into a world where everything is made of cheese, trifle and bit more cheese. And that’s when we can start to feel hazy, unmotivated and a little bit glum. Take care of your health. Make room for the occasional vegetable.
3. Seek out human contact. If you’re feeling lonely then you could look for opportunities to reach out to other people; give someone your time, give someone a helping hand, greet a stranger. As long as you set boundaries and take time for yourself when you need it, then listening to someone else or reaching out to them could help you feel less isolated.
4. Gratitude. If the holidays feel a bit turbulent then it can help to carve out a little time on your own and write down everything you’re grateful for and why. This really does help. If you do it first thing in the morning or whenever you start to feel a bit wobbly you really will feel a boost in your mood and you’ll look at people and situations with fresh eyes and new perspective. Devote a whole page to writing down all the things that make you happy.
5. Go outside. The science on this is overwhelming - being in nature is good for your mental health and can even help you live longer. If you’re in the northern hemisphere then going out for a walk in the cold and then coming home and getting cosy can really make you feel alive. If you live somewhere sunny then a dose of Vitamin D and the opportunity to walk off that pavlova will make you feel heaps better. Treat yourself to some eco therapy.
Make a decision that you are going to look after yourself this season. Give yourself a break, cut yourself some slack, make sure that your internal monologue is a kind one. Remember that you are not alone and there is always someone you can talk to. If you need extra support then be sure to check out mind.org which is full of resources and advice.
We wish you all a lovely festive season. Thank you for all the love and kindness we’ve received from everyone this year. Your support means a lot and you are right at the top of our gratitude list.
photo credits: @irmakhcgl and @gunesozturkyilmaz