4 Easy Ways to Look After Your Mental Health This Festive Season

December 21st, 2021

By Nikki Harper

Staff Writer for Wake Up World

The holiday season is the most anticipated couple of weeks of the year, for many. It’s a time for joy, family togetherness, partying, gifting, fun and merriment. However, this period of the year can also be one of the most tricky if you’re struggling with your mental health.

For a start, this tends to be the most expensive part of the year. There are many beautiful ways to save money at Christmas and other holidays, including making handmade presents or gifting certificates promising a special treat in the future. Nevertheless, if you’re feeling the financial pinch then the relentless commercialism of the season can be a constant and highly stressful reminder of your lack of affluence.

On top of that, you’re probably the one who makes the holidays happen in your household. You’re the one who organizes everything, who decorates the home, wraps the gifts, probably does the cooking too – and you’re the one under pressure to make sure everything is “perfect” – because Christmas comes but once a year, as the saying goes. The stress of trying too hard can very easily become overwhelming.

At the other end of the scale, if you’re alone, have recently suffered a breakup, are recently bereaved, are estranged from your family or isolated for any other reason, the holiday period exacerbates the feeling of loneliness and sadness. It’s difficult to watch everyone else enjoying the picture perfect Christmas (hint: they’re really not) while you are lonely, or lost, or unhappy.

Whether you’re looking forward to the festivities or dreading them, here are four simple tips to help you shore up your mental health as the holiday season looms:

1 – Limit Your Spending

By the time you read this, much of the damage might have already been done – but there’s still time to call a halt to the manic holiday spending. January is the longest month of the year finance-wise, or at least it feels that way; it’s very disheartening if you’re trying to pay off Christmas in the first few months of a new year when you should be looking forwards, not backwards.

Spend only what you can afford to spend, and not a penny more. If you’ve already over-spent, forget last minute shopping. Stay away from the stores, and don’t look online either. If you haven’t already bought it, you don’t need it, and nor does the person you’re buying it for.

2 – Don’t Torture Yourself with Picture-Perfect Ideals

No family has the perfect holiday. Ignore the Christmas adverts and magazine spreads showing total perfection – it’s not real. Real family holidays are messy, imperfect, often punctuated by bad tempers and most definitely minus the top to bottom beautifully decorated house with matching groaning banqueting table.

Nobody cares whether your napkins match your wine glass charms. Nobody’s holiday will be ruined if there’s one less dessert on offer. Nobody will be scarred for life if they get fewer presents or if the gifts they do get are not lavishly wrapped and topped with designer bows. The world won’t end if at midnight on Christmas Eve you still have unchecked items on your to-do list.

Your family’s festivities might suffer, however, if you are totally burned out and unable to relax and enjoy this special time together. So do everyone a favour and let go of the idea of perfection. You just do you.

3 – Delegate

Unless you’re spending Christmas alone, you’re not the only person who will benefit from any festive efforts. So you shouldn’t have to take on all of this work alone. Ensure that your partner – and your kids, if they’re old enough – joins in with the effort. Play to people’s strengths. Get the arty one to do the decorating and wrapping. Get the brilliant cook to, well, cook. Get the family clown to entertain visitors. Get the extended family who don’t often see the kids to spend some quality time with them while you chill out.

4 – Get as Much – Or as Little – Company as You Want or Need

If you’re likely to be alone or nearly alone, and would prefer company, ask someone else who is also lonely to come to yours. Or see if you can volunteer at a shelter, or join a team checking up on isolated seniors during the festivities. There are plenty of organizations which would value your time and your company too.

Conversely, if you want to spend time on your own chilling out, that’s fine too – there is no rule that says having Christmas on your own can’t be fantastic!

If you’re in a house full of people but you crave some alone time, then create some. Make a deal that you will socialize on the day itself but that Boxing Day will be ‘me time’ for everyone, for example.

None of these suggestions are earth-shatteringly original, but they all illustrate a key point about looking after your mental health during the festive season: look at the situation differently to find solutions which work for you – and don’t be afraid to break a few unwritten rules into the bargain.

Your sanity, and probably the rest of your family, will thank you for it.

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About the author:

Nikki Harper is a spiritualist writer, astrologer, and editor for Wake Up World. She writes about divination, astrology, mediumship and spirituality at Questionology: Astrology and Divination For the Modern World where you can also find out more about her work as a freelance astrologer and her mind-body-spirit writing and editing services. Nikki also runs a spiritualist centre in North Lincs, UK, hosting weekly mediumship demonstrations and a wide range of spiritual development courses and workshops.

Say hi at Questionology.co.uk or on Facebook.