Coping in the Festive Season

For many, the festive season can be a testing time mentally, emotionally, physically and financially, especially during the pandemic. It’s common for people to find themselves feeling overwhelmed by their mental health and money problems.

That’s why protecting your mental wellbeing, and supporting others in their times of need is so important. This year, as we all try to make sense of the world around us, I want to share with you some simple ways that you can help protect those you care about, and also help your own mental wellbeing.

Stressful life events are inevitable. The trick is not to let them overwhelm you. You know your own personal “toughness” level. If you are a “can do” person who deals with stress with ease, then great.

Protecting your mental health doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. You can start by taking some time out every day for yourself, by doing some simple things like going for a walk or having a bath, or reading a book, watching a DVD, meditating or doing a relaxation exercise.

Also, try not to worry about things you can’t control. Instead of focusing on what you don’t know, focus on what you do know. And that often turns out to be a lot more than you thought.

You will be surprised at how it will help clear your head, lift your mood, and give you a fresh perspective.

Here are some suggestions to get you started: Write down all your worries on 3″x5″ index cards. Then arrange them in order of severity. After that, write out a plan to tackle the worst one first. For example: “To deal with the worry that I may have cancer, I am going to (insert plan here).”

Keep repeating this process every day until you have dealt with each worry on your list. This will take some of the pressure off and give you a sense of progress. Next, start a gratitude journal. Every night before you go to bed, write down five things you are grateful for.

Plan ahead if this is your first holiday away from your family or in a new city. Make plans to see a movie or have dinner with the people you know. You don’t need to wait for someone to invite you. Put a few things on the calendar in advance so you’ll have something to look forward to.

Plan for any especially difficult days ahead

When you think a day may be especially challenging for you because of a recent loss or another association, plan an activity or at least check in with a friend or relative by phone, facetime or skype.

Research group holiday activities

Find out what holiday activities your group or organization has planned and join them.

Join a new or different group

Use sites like meetup.com to find a group or search for a faith community with social events.

Volunteer to help others

During the holidays, volunteering in the community is another way to combat loneliness. There are so many organisations that you can help out with, including feeding the homeless.

Don’t forget too, that a neighbour might be facing a lonely time, and your offer of help and assistance or perhaps Boxing Day lunch would be something they would look forward to.

Know how to ask for help when you are facing a crisis

Isolation is especially dangerous for people who suffer from depression or anxiety. You can reach the Samaritans if you or someone you know is experiencing these thoughts.

If you feel that you might not be able to cope, why not book in for a free 30-minute consultation with me? I can help you stay happy and mentally fit for the festive season ahead.

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