Christmas can be a fantastic time of year, but it can also be stressful, tiring, expensive and take a toll on your physical and mental health.
Add to this the pressure to celebrate and have a good time and you can see why not everyone considers Christmas the most wonderful time of the year. Studies have shown that over two in five Britons have felt stressed during the festive season, while about one in four has struggled with anxiety or depression and that women struggle more than men during this time.
Why does Christmas affect our health?
There are many reasons why our health can be affected and if we understand these we can help to avoid or counteract them.
- It’s expensive, buying gifts, sending cards, going out all take a toll at a time where many of us are feeling the pinch. This can be anxiety forming
- You feel pressured into attending social gatherings where you may not feel comfortable, making you anxious.
- Traditionally families gather at Christmas adding tension to some situations.
- There is pressure at work to get everything finished before the holidays, causing stress.
- You feel alone or left out at a time when you feel everyone else is socialising, which can be very upsetting.
- You overindulge, binge eating, more alcohol and less regular meals.
- You have less sleep, organising, socialising and merriment leave less time for your 8 hours
How to protect our health at Christmas
Manage your budget
- Money is one of the most common reasons why people feel stressed around Christmas. So set a budget and stick to it. This could mean being creative with gifts, a voucher for an hour of your time or for a session of ironing go a long way. Home-made treats and wrapping are always a pleasure to receive.
Manage the pressure
- Decide how many social gatherings you have to attend, if you really don’t want to go to any, be kind to yourself and don’t go. You can claim a double booking, illness, family emergency or simply say it’s not your type of thing. If you do attend, book a taxi so that you can leave when you want to and organise who you will go with so that you are not alone.
Manage family tensions
- The average family dinner rarely looks the way it’s portrayed in Christmas adverts so, if getting together with the family fills you with anxiety make some plans beforehand. Not staying late or bringing a friend can ease tensions. Offering to do the dishes or peel the potatoes can give some alone time and simply telling your family that you need a few minutes alone all can help.
Avoid feeling lonely
- Loneliness can become more apparent at a time like Christmas as we compare our own situation to that of others. If you feel grief in your life because of loss of loved ones, a job or house; or anything that holds importance, Christmas may simply be a trigger that draws attention to these feelings.
- Christmas can be a great time to self-reflect and break the cycle. Seek counselling for grief, join a club for company or volunteer to give back and reap the rewards yourself. Remember that what you want from Christmas may not be the same as someone else, take the time to be mindful, self aware and to think about what you want.
Retain a healthy diet
- There’s a tight relationship between physical and mental health and anxiety around Christmas time which can make you forget to look after yourself properly. Try to avoid too much sugar and alcohol and make sure you keep loading up on the fruit and vegetables. An easy way to keep on top of your nutrition is to add a daily superfood juice to your diet.
Get enough sleep
- Sleep is essential for your health and wellbeing and ensuring that you get enough sleep over Christmas is extremely important health. So, don’t be afraid to leave the party early or grab an afternoon snooze if the opportunity arises.
- Whilst it may be tempting to hibernate getting out into the fresh air does wonders for our wellbeing – even if it’s only for 10 minutes. When you’re outside, walk around and get the endorphins flowing. Take some deep breaths and free your mind of your to do list.
- Finally, if you are struggling with mental health this Christmas, you are not alone and it’s OK not to be OK. Talk to your GP or if you need to call a helpline for example
- NHS24 (111), Breathing Space(0800 83 85 87)
- the Samaritans(116 123)
- Shout’s 24/7 crisis text service on 85258.
- NHS Informhas advice on different aspects of your emotional health, like dealing with low moods, anger, fear and stress.
A great way to maintain nutrition during the festive season is to drink a daily superfood juice. Packed with vitamins and amino acids they are the perfect boost to help you thought this busy time. To order yours simply visit our shop here today.