O Come All Ye Stressful – 6 tips for a calmer Christmas

We’ve already looked at eight ways to have a healthier Christmas, which focussed on improving your physical health but also touched upon the fact that your emotional health is just as important.

It’s something that we’re always mindful of when creating workplace health checks for our clients.

At this time of year, when you turn on the television, radio or look in shop windows, all you’ll see and hear are perfectly happy families having a great Christmas.

Money worries, health concerns, family tensions and loneliness don't simply vanish when it’s Christmas. In fact, these stresses can be worse at this time of year. The emotional, economic, and physical demands of the festive season make it a boiling pot of mental health problems with all the trimmings.

To promote good mental health and wellbeing during the festive season, we have put together some tips on how to cope with stress and have a calmer Christmas.

Be realistic and plan ahead

Choosing the parts of Christmas you like and setting realistic expectations is a great way of putting Christmas in perspective.

The cost of Christmas can be a worrying prospect so plan what you want to spend in advance. It’s also important to decide what and who you do or don’t want to feature in your Christmas.

If you plan ahead, you can make sure that things aren’t left to the last minute. This way, you’ll get the type of calmer Christmas that you want, spending what you can realistically afford and having time with the people you really want to be with.

Share the burden or just say no

If you are the person who normally organises Christmas and does all the shopping, preparing Christmas dinner and everything else, make sure you ask for help from somebody else.

Try to get others involved and delegate tasks, remembering your right to just say ‘no’. If you feel your stress levels rising, you can always make your excuses for a few events. Let others know how you are feeling so they can see how they might be able to help.

Your mental health and wellbeing will be as important to your loved ones as it is to you.

Eat, drink, and be moderate

It can be extremely tempting to pick yourself up by eating a lot of sugar-filled treats or by drinking a lot, but this can make you feel much worse later.

Alcohol is a powerful mood depressant. There's nothing wrong with indulging in Christmas food and drink that you enjoy, but try not to have too much. Eat plenty of protein and complex carbohydrates to fill you up and keep your blood sugar steady. Nuts such as Brazil nuts, almonds and walnuts are brain-friendly festive foods.

Relaxercise

Exercise is a great relaxation technique and can also help you feel more energised. As you exercise you release endorphins which calm you down and lift your mood. It’s also a great way to strengthen your immune system against whatever winter throws at it.

Try and take the dog for a walk, go for a bike ride or kick the ball about in the park with the kids. You will feel better so try and make time for it.

Make time for yourself

It’s ok to be selfish every now and then. Doing something for yourself that you enjoy, no matter how small, can be a great psychological break from the stress of Christmas. Make time for yourself and ensure that you get enough quality sleep.

Talk to someone

Sharing your feelings with others and being listened to can make you feel better. You may also find that, despite the way Christmas is portrayed on the high street and in the media, others feel the same as you.

If you aren’t able to see someone who will listen face-to-face, give them a call or write them a note to let them know how you are feeling. If you aren't able to tell those close to you that you are feeling bad at such a supposedly happy time, you might find it easier to confide in a stranger.

If you continually experience stress, depression, or anxiety, remember that professional counselling services are available to offer support and help.

Here is a selection of mental health helplines that could help you:

Mind – 0300 123 3393

SANE – 0845 767 8000

CALL – 0800 132 737

Samaritans* – 08457 90 90 90

No Panic – 0844 967 4848

*24-hour helpline

Hopefully, these tips can help you to have a peaceful, stress-free, calmer Christmas.

Warmest wishes from everyone at Fusion.

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Categories: Health & WellbeingMental HealthOccupational Health

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