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Guarding your mental health this festive period

By Lanre Olusola
20 December 2018   |   3:25 am
To some, the holiday season may be the most wonderful time of the year but the period between Christmas and the New Year can be difficult for several reasons. Issues within the family, a recent loss of a loved one, health crises and other struggles can make this period difficult to manage. The holiday season…

[FILE PHOTO] Depression, anxiety and stress during the holiday can affect anyone at any age.

To some, the holiday season may be the most wonderful time of the year but the period between Christmas and the New Year can be difficult for several reasons.

Issues within the family, a recent loss of a loved one, health crises and other struggles can make this period difficult to manage.

The holiday season is a busy time for most. There is so much to do, attend and plan, which can bring up feelings of being overwhelmed, anxious, stressed, and depressed.

On the other hand, this is also a time where people may feel aware of the void left by the loss of a family member, and their own personal loneliness.

Depression, anxiety and stress during the holiday can affect anyone at any age.

Sometimes, these feelings are triggered by specific event(s) or life experience.

With all of this in mind, finding ways to guard your mental health during the holidays is very important.

7 Tips to mental wellness during the holidays:

1. PLAN YOUR BUDGET: There are many expenses during the holidays. Whether you are buying presents, food or travelling, avoid overspending. Plan your budget in advance of the holiday season.

2. TRY TO RELAX: The Christmas season can be a very busy and stressful time as we prepare to entertain family and friends, worrying about entertaining guests and family, and shopping for gifts.

These feelings of being under pressure can produce symptoms of anxiety, anger and difficulty sleeping which, if prolonged, could have a long-term harmful impact on your mental health and wellbeing.

By exercising regularly, doing yoga and relaxing your mind, you can help to both alleviate the symptoms of your stress and gain more control of your mental state when coping with difficult situations.

3. AVOID OVERINDULGING: During the holiday period, our activity levels slow down, and there are many opportunities to eat rich food and alcohol, which can lead to feelings of guilt, shame or depression.

4. FOCUS ON THINGS THAT YOU ENJOY DOING: There are so many activities to choose from during the holidays. Hanging out with your family, friends and kids, going for events and so much more.

Make sure that you leave time to do the things that you really enjoy doing.

If you enjoy baking, then schedule time for that activity. Making out time to do the things you enjoy can increase your happiness level this season.

5. LONELINESS AND ISOLATION: Loneliness and isolation can be a concern for many people during the holidays.

Rather than stay idle, pick up a hobby or join a group. Keep your eyes open for free Christmas activities happening around you.

6. END OF THE YEAR REFLECTION: As the year comes to a close, many of us reflect on what has changed, or stayed the same.

Take stock of things that are going well, or things you have done well.

When we always look at what we do not have, we forget to be grateful for what we have. Give yourself credit, and look to the future with optimism.

7. DO GOOD: Helping others is good for your own mental health and wellbeing.

It can help reduce stress, improve your mood, increase self-esteem and happiness and even benefit your physical health.

Christmas is a good opportunity to volunteer for a charity or provide essential support and encouragement for others in need.

These are just a few things that will get you started in making you mentally strong this season.

Finding ways to guard your mental health during the holiday will help you enjoy your time with family and friends.

Planning your budget, focusing on things that you enjoy, doing good are a few ways to guard your mental health during the holiday.