While the festive season can be filled with joy and happiness for many people, it may not be a time of wonder for everyone. Loneliness, daily financial stressors, declining health or change in routine can all lead to people feeling like they just can’t cope at this time of year.
“It can be hard to ask for help or for others to see that someone is struggling in the bustle of end-of-year celebrations, holidays, and gifts. But we can help by checking in with those around us, and remembering that everyone experiences the festive season differently,” says Aimee Prosser, Clinical Operations Manager at Recovery Station.
With this in mind, here are the 5 top tips from Aimee and our experienced Mental Health team to help you survive the Christmas season:
1. Avoid comparisons in adverts and social media
We often compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone’s highlight reel on social media, which can lead to increased anxiety, disconnection and depression. These images are carefully curated and don’t reflect the messy reality (financial stress, expectations and chaos) we all face from time to time, especially during this holiday season. Take a break now and again or have set time limits to spend on social media.
2. Cultivate gratitude
Focusing on what we have and not what we don’t can change your life for the better. As Oprah Winfrey said, “The more grateful you are, the more you get.” How do we do this? Keep a gratitude journal. Practice being present and in the moment. Deep belly breathing. Put aside a small amount of time each day to give thanks for all the good things in your life, like the smell of coffee or the sparkle of fairy lights.
3. Experiences over things
Sometimes the best gift we can give is our time and presence with others who need us.
Instead of getting caught up in the mad frenzy of commercialism – write a thoughtful card, bake cookies, or create a personalised music playlist for your favourite human. Gift someone an experience with you this Christmas like a bushwalk or picnic. In other words, more connection, less expenditure.
4. Connect with joy
Ground yourself in nature, reread a book that changed your life, watch a comedy, and move your body (hello feel-good hormones!). Savour the smell of pine trees or sand between your toes. Whatever sparks inner joy – tap into that. And if feelings of being overwhelmed or sadness appear, allow yourself to recognise that all feelings are temporary and will pass.
5. Be compassionate with yourself and others
This may have been the heaviest of years for you – you may have experienced the loss of a loved one, financial struggles, illness or more. It’s ok to feel grief, depleted or lonely, but know you are not alone!
If you are feeling overwhelmed and need support, ask your friends and family for some help, or call Lifeline on 13 11 14, Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36 and NSW Mental Health Crisis Line on 1800 011 511.
Your mental health is so important, and asking for help is not just ok, it’s brave!
Merry Christmas from,
Side Note: Please note that the information given above is general in nature; please consult your physician or therapist if you have any particular questions.