After the stresses of the last two years the fast approaching Christmas may be a very stressful because it brings extra pressure to go places and see more folks than usual. For some this time may be extra worrisome due to vaccine status, physical distancing, and for introvert that have been quiet happy in our bubbles being asked to spread the love.
I’ve put together our tips for looking after yourself this holiday period (Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year).
Make sure you empty your plate!
Many of us feel added pressure by all the things we think we ‘have to do’, but it’s just as important to incorporate self-care during these busy times – because you can’t add more stuff to a full plate!
Some handy tips:
Create a ;to-do list’ with priority and due date. It’ll help figure out what really needs to be done before the holidays
It’s ok to say no and only participate in activities that suit you
Make a Christmas budget and stick to it
Listen to calming music or watch your favourite movie
Go to bed early and get a full 8-hours sleep (every night!)
Eat and drink in moderation and plan healthy meals for when you’re not celebrating
Don’t forget to move! Walk, run, swim, cycle, roller-skate, dance – aim to be active for 30 minutes everyday
Acknowledge that the festive season isn’t a happy time for everyone – Christmas might be an upsetting or difficult time for yourself or someone close to you, and that’s okay
Self-care is not selfish! Make it a priority all year round.
To find out more about the 8 Dimensions or Self-Care you can visit this page and download the flyer
Start a new tradition
‘The only constant in life is change’. Heraclitus (535 – 475BC)
Often, we get stuck doing the same thing over and over again. If Christmas in its current form is a stressful event for you, mix it up and start a new tradition.
Try staying away from family, hang out with friends, try a family trip outdoors, such as a trip to the beach or a bushwalk. Get out of the house and enjoy a relaxed picnic or BBQ outdoors. Perhaps you could do something crafty together or make music. Is there a local event you could attend or somewhere you could volunteer?
Is this year you can start a new tradition that brings you joy?
Make a safety plan.
If you are feeling the impacts of mental health troubles, maybe you’re supporting a family member or a friend with mental health challenges or mental ill-health, you may have or may be worried if your loved one will be okay during this time. Having a safety plan in place can help ease of mind and can make you feel more confident about what to do if things aren’t going as smoothly as you had hoped.
Sit down and write out - in bullet form - the possible scenarios and what you would do in response. What is your plan B if something unexpected happens? Who will you call? Check what services are open over Christmas (we have a list on our Contact Us page) and make sure you have another options if your go-to service is closed. Ensure you have medication and other necessities. Plan for various scenarios to ensure you won’t feel alone or unprepared. Your therapist can help you develop this plan if you’d like.
It’s normal to feel upset or disappointed when things don’t go to plan. Acknowledge if the last two years have been difficult for you. You may have endured a lot; fires, covid, home schooling, job losses, working in isolation, social isolation, loss of friends and family in palace you can’t get too…the list is long) It can be helpful to remind yourself of the things that have gone well, particularly when times are difficult.
1.What are some things that you are grateful for this year?
2.Is there anything you have accomplished or learned?
Write down the answers to these questions. You might surprise yourself. You can read these back when you’re feeling overcome.
If you are socially distancing or away from loved ones, this doesn’t mean you can’t connect at Christmas. A phone call or a good old-fashioned Christmas card are good ways to keep in touch with people you care about.
If you need to talk to someone during the Christmas period, we recommend you call your therapist, or Lifeline on 131114
There are people there with a listening ear who can help you cope if you feel overwhelmed.
Stop comparing yourself to others.
You are unique – your story is unique – your personality is unique – your family is unique.
Someone always has it worse and better than you. Embracing you’re amazing individuality.