We’ve just had Christmas and New Years and all of the celebrations associated with this. Now we find ourselves in bleak, cold and dark January with the build-up and excitement of Christmas festivities being over with. Whilst it is usually a fun time over the Christmas period we may now be exhausted from this time whether due to hosting, travelling or spending time in the company of others. There may be financial concerns from the debts caused by presents, food or socialising over this time (and a long wait until the next pay day). And a lot of people will have consumed large amounts of alcohol that the body has had to deal with during this time.
Also for many people Christmas can be a very lonely time if they do not have people they spend this time with, or it may reinforce the loss of a loved. Therefore the Christmas period and the month of January can bring a lot of stress with it - not to mention that Monday 21st January has been labelled as “the gloomiest day of the year.”
For those living with mental health conditions already the problems and low mood some of us might find during and after the Christmas period can be much more distressing than some may expect. January can be a time of hopelessness, increased anxiety and depression and for some thoughts of suicidal tendencies therefore it is so important to talk to each other during this time of the year and acknowledge that both ourselves and others may need a bit of help during this time, or even just someone to talk things though with.
During this time it is important to look after the mental health of ourselves and others. Some of the ways we can do this are by:
- Keeping active and trying not to isolate yourself
- Getting outside even if just for a short walk
- Aim to get some regular physical activity and exercise
- Eating a healthy diet – not just chocolates and sweets over the Christmas period
- Reduce alcohol consumption – excess drinking can increase feelings of depression
- Being mindful of difficult family dynamics over this time
- Look into local community activities and activity groups
- Re-connect with friends and relatives you may not have spoken to for a while
- Spend time doing the things that you enjoy
- Talking to others about how you are feeling – Consider seeking professional support if this is needed
Try to be optimistic and positive about all the new experiences you’ll make and the people you will meet in 2019!