‘Tis the season to be jolly, but for some, it is also the season to be rushed, anxious and emotionally unwell. The stress of the holidays affects us all in different ways and for many, the feelings associated with this time of year can be overwhelming.
Mental health difficulties don’t take time off for Christmas, but there are steps you can take this holiday season that can help your wellbeing.
Focus on being present, not presents
There are so many distractions this time of year; we can forget to actually enjoy the holiday. St Patrick’s Mental Health Services’ CEO, Paul Gilligan, recommends staying in the moment and focusing on the things that are important to you, rather than letting the external hustle and bustle take over.
He said: “The getting and giving of presents can be a stressful event. It can be all-encompassing and take away the joy and excitement from Christmas.
“This year, give more than just presents. Be present. Try to be patient and stay in the moment. Don’t focus on the aim of perfection. Happy memories are more valuable than any gift.”
Substance, not substances
There are so many parties this time of the year that it’s incredibly easy to lose track of schedules and normal healthy habits. When alcohol is thrown into the mix, wellness can also go out the window so it’s important to monitor your alcohol intake. It is also essential to remember that too much alcohol can make you both tired and irritable and can affect your personal relationships.
Wish them a Merry Christmas
Paul Gilligan, St Patrick’s Mental Health Services’ CEO, added: “One in four people will experience a mental health difficulty during their lifetime, so there is bound to be someone on your Christmas card list who is not feeling well. Being there for these people can make a huge difference, especially around this time of year.”
It can also be an especially difficult time for older people who are alone at Christmas. If possible, try to reach out and offer the gift of your company.
With all the hustle and bustle around the holidays, it’s easy to forget about your own mindfulness. Try to take a little time away from the rush to wind down and have some ‘me time.’
Whether it is exercise, mindfulness or just a half an hour alone with a book; a little peace and quiet can make a huge difference to your overall wellbeing during the holidays.
You are not alone
Most areas have events this time of year, so if you are set to be alone at Christmas, why not check out the community activities and get-togethers in your local area?
We are wishing you a merry Christmas, but recognise that sometimes wishes are not enough, so if you feel overwhelmed this holiday season, contact St Patrick’s Mental Health Services Support & Information line on 01 249 3333 or call the Samaritans on 116 123.