Why Christmas can affect your mental health
Your mental wellbeing is important at any time of the year, but Christmas can increase levels of anxiety in a season which is supposed to be ‘the most wonderful time of the year’. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, your mental health might be affected by what is happening around you.
Our Sutcliffe & Co Mental Health First Aider, Sue Smith, has recently attended mental health training, ‘Mental Health in Business’, Managers & Leaders Mental Health Workshop which highlights the need for awareness of supporting mental health in the workplace. Christmas time could be the ideal time to start a conversation and spot those signs of someone in need, whether that’s in the workplace or at home.
Christmas puts a lot of extra pressure on us and can affect our mental health in different ways. Sometimes you can feel lonely or left out with everyone feeling happy and you are the odd one out. It can be very stressful if you are dealing with other issues in your life and Christmas is just another thing to add noise to your busy mind.
Now we have social media, the pressure to create the ‘perfect’ Christmas can be all consuming and frustrating when you just want to do it your way. Perhaps your worries stem from not wanting to ruin Christmas for others and anxious about what can go wrong. With the big hype around Christmas, not only the day itself, but the leadup to it, the focus of joy and happiness can be deflating when the festive season is over. The change to routine and restricted access to services that normally help can all add to pressures on your mental health at Christmas.
Tips for supporting your mental health at Christmas
We understand that different things can help us at different times, and it really depends on our situation. Money worries are a common cause of stress and with the rising cost of living this is even more evident. Accessing support to see what extra money you could claim and making a manageable budget with a list can help you feel more in control. Always be honest with loved ones about the pressure you are under to help manage expectations from both sides. Remember over spending in December will only cause more money worries in the new year.
Look after yourself and be gentle with your needs. Saying ‘no’ to events to protect your own mental health is a positive action you can take to support your long-term wellbeing. Doing something that is not Christmas related can help take the intensity away from the festive period and always remember that Christmas won’t last for ever and a ‘normal’ routine will resume.
Planning ahead at Christmas might help you cope better and feel more comfortable. Make a list of any services that you might need and their Christmas opening hours. You could plan something nice to do after Christmas so you have something to look forward to in the new year.
Christmas is the classic time for relationship conflicts, the pressure to have a good time with family and friends can cause friction. Before an uncomfortable situation arises, you could think about how to end a difficult conversation. One of the key things to helping you cope at Christmas time is talking to other people and letting people know you are struggling. There is always someone to listen and you are not alone.
We are lucky enough to have an Mental Health First Aider in the office, whereby Sue is always available to support the team if they have any concerns. With the pressures of life, wellbeing in the workplace has never been more important and we are proud to be part of that change.
For more information regarding how Christmas can affect your mental health or you are supporting someone with mental health issues, visit the Mind website HERE.