A blog by PMAC, the UK’s leading mental health and wellbeing training professionals.
Prioritising self-care and setting boundaries
During the festive season, it’s important to place self-care at the top of your to-do list. This doesn’t necessarily mean indulging in excess, but rather taking part in activities and practices that contribute to your wellbeing. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and sufficient sleep can significantly boost your mood and energy levels.
Setting boundaries is key, especially during the festive period. While it’s delightful to connect with friends and family, it’s as equally important to honour your personal space and time. Remind yourself, you don’t have to attend every festive gathering or respond to every message immediately. Be sure to know your limits and communicate them politely but firmly. Avoid overcommitting yourself and remember, it’s perfectly acceptable to say ‘no’ when necessary.
At times, the festive hubbub may feel overwhelming. If so, feel free to take a step back and redirect your time and attention to taking part in mindfulness activities. For example, meditation or yoga. These activities can help restore balance and bring a sense of calm amidst the festive rush, making it possible for you to truly savour the joy of the season. Your mental health is as important as your physical wellbeing.
Above all, keep in mind that the festive season is a time for joy and rejuvenation. By prioritising self-care and setting boundaries, you will be able to thoroughly enjoy this season whilst maintaining your health, well-being and happiness, and reducing stress and burnout.
Handling loneliness and coping with family dynamics
The festive season can be a challenging period for everyone, especially for individuals coping with loneliness or navigating complex family dynamics. If you’re feeling lonely, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Many people experience a sense of isolation during this time. To combat this, try to keep regular contact with friends or loved ones, even if it’s just a quick message or a phone call. Connect with local community events or engage in activities that you enjoy. This will help lift the feeling of loneliness.
Family interactions can sometimes be stressful, especially if there are unresolved tensions or conflicts. Be sure to reassure yourself that it’s okay to set boundaries to protect your mental wellbeing. If conversations become heated or steer towards topics that could cause tension, try to steer them towards a more positive topic. You don’t have to meet everyone’s expectations. It’s okay to take time out if you start to feel overwhelmed. Everyone’s family dynamics are unique and there’s no ‘right’ way to feel – be sure to look after yourself and your wellbeing.
Prioritising your mental health, whether through mental health training or other means is the best gift you can give yourself this festive season.
Finding balance between social engagement and personal time
The festive season, while full of joy and merriment, can also become rather overwhelming with the whirlwind of social engagements and activities. Therefore, it is essential to ensure a balance between participating in festive social events and preserving personal time for rest and rejuvenation.
Start by planning your commitments carefully. Pace yourself and don’t feel compelled to attend every social gathering. It’s perfectly alright to politely decline an invitation if it becomes too much. Keep in mind – it’s quality over quantity.
Make sure to carve out time for activities that help you unwind and relax. This could be a quiet evening with a book, a long walk enjoying nature, or practising mindfulness through meditation or yoga. These self-care activities are not indulgences, but necessities for your mental wellbeing.
Most importantly, get regular, quality sleep. Amidst the festive cheer, it’s easy to compromise on rest. However, proper sleep is the cornerstone of maintaining overall health, including mental health. You can’t get all the enjoyment out of the festivities if you’re feeling exhausted.
Achieving this balance might not always be straightforward and can certainly look different for everyone. The key is to listen to your own needs, honour your boundaries, and ensure you’re nurturing your mental and physical wellbeing alongside celebrating the festive season.
Setting realistic expectations
The festive season is often portrayed as a time of perfect harmony; a period filled with joy, happiness, and endless celebration. However, this is not always the case for everyone. Not everyone’s festive season will look like the set of a film. It’s important to set realistic expectations to maintain your mental health during this period.
Be sure to remind yourself that it’s okay if everything isn’t perfect. The festive season often comes with a high level of expectation to create ‘perfect’ moments. It’s the shared experiences and the time spent with loved ones that truly matter, not the flawless execution of festivities.
Secondly, it’s okay to say no. With an abundance of events and duties, we may feel obligated to participate in every activity, causing stress and anxiety. Give yourself permission to decline invitations or tasks that could potentially overwhelm you.
It’s vital to establish financial boundaries. The pressure to buy expensive gifts can be immense and it can be so easy to fall into the trap of overspending. Keep in mind, the value of a gift is not determined by its price tag, but by the thought and care put into choosing it.
By setting realistic expectations, you can help avoid unnecessary stress and anxiety, allowing you to fully enjoy the festive season. Remember, it’s about creating cherished memories, not perfection.
For more information visit PMAC.