Your Emotional Health at Christmas
Keeping your festive sparkle at Christmas can be a real challenge, especially within the context of the Covid pandemic. If you sometimes struggle with your emotional or mental health, you may want to take particular steps to support yourself this year. Here are a few simple ideas to explore for the month ahead.
If you diarise your events, plan your finances and schedule your family contact it will really help you to avoid getting overwhelmed. Making a clear schedule will help you to manage your health and well-being.
Everyone needs some time to themselves. Get outside daily to walk and breathe. We all need time to process the interactions we are having and reconnect with how we are feeling.
Christmas is typically a time of excess, but over-eating, drinking and socialising can be damaging to your mental health. Try to moderate yourself and remember to take special care if you are on medication.
Gratitude is a powerful gift to others and ourselves. It provokes us to look for things to give thanks for, and can lift our mood on difficult days. Try giving thanks to God and others at least 5 times each day over the festive period.
We can all be lonely, even in a crowd. Feeling lonely at Christmas is particularly impactful but connection really improves our wellbeing. Seek to have one vulnerable conversation each day – where you are really honest about how you are doing.
Christmas is an amazing opportunity to reconnect with the kindness and proximity of Jesus. Whether it's online or in person, lose yourself in worship and prayer to a God who loves you unconditionally.
Things rarely go as expected at Christmas. If our expectations are too rigid, we can struggle emotionally. Try to adopt a flexible, curious disposition that weaves together all of the above without demands or judgements. Know that God is with you whatever happens next.
(Remember that if you are concerned about your own mental health or that of a family member/friend, always talk to you GP at the earliest possible opportunity or walk into your nearest A & E department. More information about Christianity and Mental Health at www.mindandsoulfoundation.org)
Will Van Der Hart, 29/11/2020