Mental Health at Christmas

Why people may suffer from negative mental health during Christmas

Below, we list a number of reasons why people suffer from ill-mental health issues during the Christmas period.

Diet

As tasty as Christmas dinner and chocolates for breakfast is, the lack of healthy food throughout the festive period often means that people feel less energetic, motivated, and positive. This would, of course, include too much alcohol. Because alcohol is itself a depressant, if you are feeling down over Christmas, you would be well advised to stay clear of alcohol. [1]

Financial Strains

Whether you’re spending more money on food, decorations or presents, people are spending a huge amount of their annual income on Christmas. Financial strains can easily lead to anxiety, depression, and stress.

The Planning Involved

Christmas takes an awful lot of planning.

Sometimes, the planning side of Christmas often falls to one or two people within a family or friendship group. If you’re the one responsible for most of the planning, then the idea of organising a meal, party, event, or entire holiday can cause a lot of people unwanted (and quite frankly, unnecessary) stress.

Presents, Presents and More Presents

For lots of people in this day in age, the expectations around buying and giving presents to loved ones is getting out of control.

There also seems to be an increase in expectations, too.

Buying presents not only comes with financial implications, but lots of people find the searching, delivering, wrapping, and organising very stressful too.

Ways people can protect their mental health during Christmas

Let Go of the Little Things

I know it’s easier said than done but try not to stress out or worry about the little things at Christmas time.

So what if you’re a little late to a party if no one ate the stuffing or someone makes a comment at the dinner table?

Make a Plan & a Budget

Christmas can be both stressful and expensive, but it doesn’t need to be. Start by making a budget, and possibly spread your shopping throughout the last half of the year.

Make sure that you leave enough time to do what you need to and even plan out the little things that when you’re going to wrap the presents and write your Christmas cards.

Get as Much Sunlight as Possible

If you’re prone to feeling sad or depressed, then your symptoms might get worse during the winter when there’s less sunlight.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is caused by a lack of sunlight, which then means you don’t have enough vitamin D. [2]

To combat this, get as much sunlight as possible. Go for more walks during the daytime, use light therapy or take vitamin D supplements.

Eat Well

During the Christmas period, everyone’s prone to eating too much turkey and sugar. Unfortunately, this can sometimes have a negative impact on your mental health.

Instead, stock up on vegetables and fruit and try to watch how much you drink.

If you’re looking for more ways to maintain a balanced diet at Christmas, the British Nutrition Foundation has lots of great tips. [3]

Exercise

As the night’s get longer and the weather gets colder, it becomes harder to exercise. By the time Christmas comes around, people are often too busy with present buying, parties, and meals to even consider going for a 20-minute run.

Try to schedule some light, daily or weekly exercise. When you do, your brain will release endorphins that will trigger a positive reaction in your body.

Ask for Help

It’s okay to ask for help, even at Christmas, speak up to loved ones if you need help.

Likewise, if you’re struggling with your mental health, then speak to your local GP about your symptoms. If you’re in need of urgent help, then use the NHS Mental Health Helpline. [4]

If you’re struggling with your mental health this Christmas, look at the below infographic.

Mental Health at Christmas: Some Tips for Coping

How can No Panic help?
No Panic specialises in self-help recovery and our services include:
Providing people with the skills they need to manage their condition and work towards recovery.
Our aim is to give you all of the necessary advice, tools and support that you will need to recover and carry out this journey. No Panic Recovery Programs

References

[1] Covered more generally in Alcohol Rehab in Birmingham.

[2] https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad/about-sad/

[3] https://www.nutrition.org.uk/putting-it-into-practice/food-seasons-and-celebrations/christmas-and-new-year/

[4] https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/mental-health/find-an-urgent-mental-health-helpline 

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