I’ve had this post waiting in the wings for well over a week, and every time I was going to share it I pushed it back. It just didn’t feel like we needed it at the start of December as things felt sort of positive, with people throwing themselves into festivities as much as we could. But after this weekends announcements I’m glad I waited, as I think there has undoubtedly been a mood shift and now is the time. Looking after your wellbeing at Christmas.
Like everyone I’ve had highs and low lows this year, with everything seeming heightened due to the situations we find ourselves in. I’m aware of what helps me feel better and what doesn’t and I can’t think of a time when everyone is so conscious of the way they’re feeling, as it fluctuates from one week to the next.
I genuinely have tried to make the best of everything, but it is bloody hard. This weekend will have been one of the biggest blows to everyone I think, with Christmas rules changing and the introduction of Tier 4.
Christmas for some can be one of the hardest times of year anyway, if people have suffered loss, loneliness, relationships deteriorating, or if they feel like they’ve not achieved enough through the year. Throw 2020 into the mix and it’s easy to get into a spiral of negative thoughts, and that’s ok.
Personally I think just making it through this year is an achievement for us all, as we’ve collectively had no end of absolute shit thrown at us. Here’s some general things to consider when looking after our wellbeing at Christmas. They’re all about just making life that little bit easier at this time of year.
Christmas in General
I originally felt bad for the few presents I’ve got this year, but I’ve come to realise like any Christmas it’s not about the presents, it’s about people in your life. I’d much rather spend time over money with people, even if that has to wait until after 25th December.
Absolutely all of us have been hit in some way, spending more on food, spending more on alcohol, doing up our homes as we spent so much time in them, taking pay cuts, furlough pay etc.
Take the pressure off yourself when it comes to money as much as you can, and let go of the expectation that you have to spend so much, give so much and do so much. People will understand and you will feel much better for it.
Accept Offers Of Help
I really think people have meant it this year when they’ve offered to help others, so there should be less of a fear around accepting it if you really need it. People don’t do it just because it’s the right thing to say, they do actually want to help. So if you get an offer and could do with some input, even as small as picking something up from the shop, just accept the help.
If it’s tradition that you make Christmas dinner on your own every single year, but it feels a bit overwhelming this year, take the help when it’s offered or give people a task to do.
Avoid Food/Drink Guilt
I know this is easier said than done for some people but take the pressure off yourself when it comes to your diet and body image too. If you want the extra mince pie just have it. If you want to avoid sugary or unhealthy foods then do it. If you want to drink then go for it, if you know it triggers you the wrong way, say no.
The point is to do whatever works for you.
Unfollow What & Who Doesn’t Make You Feel Good
Strangers are the easiest people to admire, and to follow. It is said time and time again that we should never assume someone’s instagram is their reality, it’s a highlight reel. Christmas is the perfect time for a social media clear out, and get rid of anyone who makes you feel less about yourself.
Unfollow in real life too, if someone brings you down or doesn’t bring anything to the table there is no place for them in your life. Friends are there to be supportive, and if you’re not getting what you need from someone it’s time to say goodbye. There doesn’t even need to be a drama over it.
If you don’t feel like you can unfollow then theres a handy little mute tool which also works, and if there’s something that particularly triggers you there’s also a way to mute certain key words and hashtags from appearing in your feeds.
Of anything and everything as they will make you feel more organised. And give a big feeling of satisfaction when you can tick things off. Even small lists like what you need to do the next day can help.
Go Back Through Your Camera Roll
Plans may have been cancelled, postponed or missed, but this year will have had it’s highs. The lows have been very low, but there is something in appreciating the little things. I bet if you scroll through your camera roll you will find a few happy memories.
Plan Calls With People You’re Missing
As much as switching off and taking time for yourself is important, so is making time for people that you’re missing, and a call, FaceTime or text chat will almost always make you feel better. It can be as big or as small a thing as you make it, but it will help.
You could also do my 2020 Christmas quiz with them.
A walk and some fresh air never fails.
Evaluate Your Habits
This is something I didn’t do at all until I gave bullet journaling a go at the start of November, but it’s so surprising what you find out about yourself once you looking at the repetitive habits you do every day.
I have a full blog post on bullet journaling coming between Christmas and New Year, but in general just looking at your habits and making a conscious effort to be aware of the ones you want to keep or try get rid of can really help. It gives you a level of control over them when they’re in black and white in front of you so write them down. The good, the bad and the ugly.
I really didn’t want this post to just list all the ways you can practice self care, as there is so much information out there on that, and lists that feature the usual stuff – read a book, give yourself a pamper day, do a digital detox, exercise, drink water etc…. Here’s one of my own posts on hygge and how to experience it that you might find useful. It’s all about being content in the moment.
At Christmas it’s easy to get carried along by the fast paced nature of it, with a never ending to do list and time running out before shops shut. People get so panicky over it.
This Christmas is bringing some of the worst scenarios to our doorstep, whether that’s shops suddenly closing in tier 4 before you have everything you need, deliveries not making it in time, being unable to go home and see people, suffering with depression and anxiety, or the prospect of facing the holidays without loved ones.
Being consciously aware of our wellbeing at Christmas can only work to our advantage in order to get through it, make the best of it as much as we can, and look forward to a new year ahead. Don’t forget to talk to people, don’t bottle up how you’re feeling, and look after yourself.
Anyone in the UK can text SHOUT to 85258 if you are struggling and a trained crisis volunteer will text you back. The service is free.
Anxiety UK. Tel 03444 775 774 Mon – Fri 9:30am-5:30pm
CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, for men aged 15 to 35. Tel. 0800 58 58 58. 5pm to midnight Web. www.thecalmzone.net
MIND. Mental Health and Anxiety support. Tel. 0300 123 3393. Mon – Fri 9am to 6pm. Web. www.mind.org.uk
Samaritans. Confidential support. Tel. 116 123 Available 24 hours. Web. www.samaritans.org.uk
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