How to find some time to take care of yourself at Christmas

Christmas is unlike any other time of the year.

No other period puts such emphasis on catching up with friends, going to family gatherings, celebrating at work Christmas parties, and the eating and drinking that goes with them all.

Then there are the presents, going on holiday, organising the Christmas lunch or dinner… it sounds like a lot of fun. But, as we all know, it doesn’t always feel that way.

For some, the many social events can be exhausting, with a pressure to participate and always bring your merry best.

For others, the importance placed on catching up and spending time with friends and loved ones can highlight any feelings that they don’t have people they feel closely connected to, which can increase a sense of loneliness.

For both sides of this coin, whether it’s too much or too little socialising, there can be a negative impact on physical wellbeing and mental health.

In short, the Christmas season is when we all need to watch our mental health and look after ourselves.

If you find there’s too much socialising going on, and you’re seeing it’s starting to take a toll on your mental health, it’s a good idea to make time for yourself to relax and recharge.

And there are a few simple tips and strategies to do this.

It’s OK to say ‘no’

If you find there’s too much going on, and you’re spreading yourself a bit thin, give yourself permission to say ’no’. Maybe some events and some people are more important than others.

Prioritise the ones you can’t miss and pick those you think you’ll enjoy.

Choose who you socialise with

Making time for yourself doesn’t mean isolating yourself.

When you do catch up with friends and family, think about the people you’ll be spending time with whether or not their company energises or depletes you.

Quality time, not quantity time

When it’s the time to be merry, it’s OK to be there for a good time, not necessarily a long time.

Take time for yourself to wind down and relax.

Take care of your wellbeing

Your mental health is closely linked to your physical health and Christmas is the time of overindulgence.

Try to eat well when you can, and when the ‘good’ food is too tempting, don’t have second helpings. Regular exercise is so important, so use this as a time to yourself. Maybe even try some guided breathing or meditation exercises. There are plenty online to choose from.

Get off the socials

If you manage to make time, try not to spend it scrolling through your social media.

It might be harder to feel good about moments to yourself if you’re seeing others #livingmybestlife and comparing what you’re doing to what they are. This can diminish your self-worth and overall happiness.

Put time in the diary to treat yourself

Book an appointment that puts time for yourself in your diary. It can be a massage or beauty treatment, a visit to the barber, tickets to a movie, a PT or pilates session.

It doesn’t matter, just whatever makes you feel good.

While strictly not a strategy for making time for yourself, an excellent strategy to help boost your mental health at Christmas time is by making time for others and giving back.

Many people do it tough over this time and have increased feelings of loneliness.

Volunteering is a great way to commit your time to helping others. It gives everyone a sense of belonging and real connection, which makes you feel better.

And after all, isn’t giving to others in a more meaningful way than giving presents really what the Christmas Season is all about?