Taking Care of Yourself during The Holiday Season

December 05th 2017

Taking Care of Yourself during The Holiday Season

From Christmas music being played in every shop and on all of the radio stations, groups of people dressed in ridiculous Christmas jumpers, to those M&S holiday commercials that sometimes, let's face it, bring a tear to the eye; the holiday season comes in full force and almost demands that you’re happy and full of cheer.

The truth however is that the holiday season can be one of the most difficult seasons for folks. It's important to bear this in mind as we spend time with friends and families and also as we look after ourselves this year.

The holiday season can renew the grief of loss of a loved one who is no longer in our lives. There is a real pressure at Christmas and New Year to have fun and appear happy. For these reasons people can sometimes suffer feelings of loneliness or sadness in isolation.

So here are some tips that may help if you or someone you care about are struggling with your mental health this holiday season:

1. Get active! It is easy during the holiday season with all the interruptions to our normal routine, poor weather conditions, and increased social activities to let your regular exercise routine slip. But staying active and getting regular exercise are important to maintaining a healthy mood and body.

2. Get Rested! For the same reasons as above we might get less rest during the holiday season. Try to keep to a normal sleep routine as much as possible. Troubles always seem heavier when we are not well rested, and sleep helps us to feel happy, energetic and well.

3. Get connected! Sometimes during the holidays we are seeing more people than ever, but can feel lonelier than ever as well. Remember, if you are feeling sad, worried, overwhelmed and/or lonely this holiday season, you are not alone in this experience. Please reach out to a trusted adult, parent or partner for support.

4. Get aware! Remember not everyone celebrates the same holidays, not everyone has extra money for Christmas presents or events, and not everyone has family or fond memories of the holiday season. Stay aware of the things you are grateful for this season, and also aware of others who might be having a different experience than you.

5. Get generous! The holiday season is a wonderful time to give back to your community if you can. You could volunteer at a local charity, make homemade Christmas cards for your friends and family, or find some other way to give back to others. We feel good when we help and support one another.

Sometimes we can feel overwhelmed or like we need some extra support. If you are feeling this way please talk to an adult you trust. There may also be a Jigsaw near you who can provide guidance and support for young people aged 12-25 who are experiencing difficulties. Check our website to find your nearest Jigsaw. Alternatively, you can log on to yourmentalhealth.ie and search for mental health support services near you or talk to your GP about supports in your local area.

By Violet Johnstone, Clinical Support Worker, Jigsaw Dublin City