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Christmas Wellbeing Tips

With all the added stresses that can come with the festive season, remember to look after yourself.  To help, here are our 12 Christmas Health & Wellbeing Tips from the Guideposts team.

#1 Be Active

If you’re feeling tired and exhausted in the run up to Christmas, try a walk or a brisk stroll. Research suggests keeping active can help beat tiredness Also, being in nature and taking notice of surroundings can do wonders for mental health at a time when it feels easier to be indoors.  

#2 Take notice

We can be so focused on our ‘to do’ lists that we forget to pay attention to the here and now. Take notice of your surroundings – wrap up warm and pay attention to the seasonal smells such as cinnamon, oranges and cloves, Christmas cake, newly opened wrapping paper, candles, firewood, Christmas trees, hot chocolate.

#3 Give to others

Christmas can be a great time of year to do something for someone else. It doesn’t have to be a large expensive gesture, something as simple as a smile or a ‘thank you’ can help with your own wellbeing as well as theirs. 

#4 Be grateful

Count your blessings and laugh a lot this Christmas.

#5 Connect

Christmas can be a tough time of year. Talking to and interacting with the people around you, whether that be family, neighbours or a friendly ‘hello’ to the person standing in the queue behind you at the shops, may help.  

#6 Realistic Expectations

Keep your expectations of the festive period realistic. Many of us have a certain vision of what Christmas should look like, but Christmas doesn’t need to be perfect. Be mindful not to put too much pressure on yourself to live up to unrealistic standards, and although your festive plans may look different again this year, you can find new ways to celebrate.

#7 De-stress

As we face into another Christmas during a pandemic, what is already a stressful time may become more so and it’s easy to feel there is too much pressure on you, but it’s ‘okay to not feel okay’. If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed with the demands of the season, whatever the situation, don’t forget that you’re allowed to set aside some time for you – to read a book or watch a film or TV Christmas special, listen to music or have a relaxing bath.

#8 Manage family dynamics

Christmas can also lead to increased tensions and familial pressures. Tactics to manage family dynamics include choosing what to give your energy and time to, and recognise what doesn’t serve you and making your needs and wants clear. Don’t expect others to know what you need or how you are feeling; let them know so that you can manage these feelings together. 

#9 Ask for help

If you do find yourself struggling to cope, don’t hesitate to reach out for help and support if you need it. Make sure you have a list of available people and organisations you can contact, such as friends, family, helplines or mental health crisis services who can offer advice and resources. 

#10 Loneliness 

Christmas can be a very lonely time, particularly if you have not got family/much family or friends to spend Christmas with. If you know your feelings of loneliness may increase over the festive period, try to keep busy so that you are not left to dwell on your thoughts. You may want to have a plan for the day to help you manage feelings of loneliness, this includes activities that you enjoy and make you feel good. Try and practise self-compassion. Allow yourself some time to sit with your emotions, and remember that you’re not alone in loneliness, lots of people can feel this way from time to time. 

#11 Dealing with a Bereavement or Grief

Christmas can be a painful time for many people who have lost loved ones, whether that loss has been this year or many years ago. If you are grieving, give yourself space both to not be okay and also to smile and have some fun. It’s okay to be sad and it’s okay to be joyful. Painful feelings are part of the grieving process and it’s important to recognise these feelings. Continuing some family traditions or creating new ones can also be helpful. Some people may like to visit a grave or special place to give time to remember around this time of year. 

#11 Food and Alcohol

Keeping a healthy approach to food and alcohol. For those who experience difficulties in relation to food or alcohol, Christmas can be a difficult time as food and alcohol are more readily available.  It’s important to develop strategies to maintain your mental health and wellbeing during the festive season. For example, make a plan and stick to it. Be clear in your own mind about what it is that you want to do and identify any aspects of food or alcohol that could make you anxious or leave you vulnerable. It’s okay to say no to things that you feel may impact on your wellbeing and you do not need to feel guilty for prioritising your health. During this period, try to ensure that you are following your routines and structures as much as possible. Know what tools work for you and use them every day. Tools may include meditation, going for daily walks, keeping a journal or diary.

We hope you find these health and wellbeing tips useful to stay well, and wish you a Happy Christmas!

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