Top Five Festive Season Tips for your Mental Health
The Festive Season can be a stressful time of year. The expense of buying gifts, the pressure of last minute shopping, and the heightened expectations of family. Here are some practical suggestions that can help you reduce your ‘festive stress’:
Festive Season and your relationships
Stress, anxiety, and depression are common during the Festive Season. If nothing else, reassure yourself that these feelings are normal. Stress reduction strategies include:
- Set your expectations realistically
- Avoid known triggers
- Use relaxation techniques
- People under stress tend to ‘self-medicate’ with alcohol, cigarettes and other drugs. Try to remember that drugs can’t solve problems or alleviate stress in the long term
General health and wellbeing
- Drink moderately- it may be the season to be jolly, but too much food and alcohol is harmful
- Get enough sleep
- Keep moving – keeping up your regular exercise routine can give you the fitness and stamina to make it through the demands of the Festive Season.
Festive Season conflicts
The Festive Season can be stressful if there’s tension between your family or friends or an unrealistic expectation to just ‘put on a smile’. If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, try to be as understanding as you can of other people’s situations.
- Plan a group activity – such as a game – to keep people distracted
- Try to avoid the silly season getting really silly;reduce the amount of alcohol that could contribute to arguments
Festive Season and spending it alone
- Create a playlist of your favourite tunes
- Curl up on the couch, in bed or outside with a great book
- Get out in the garden, sunshine or nature.
- Pamper yourself; light a candle, have a relaxing bath or meditate
- Have a marathon movie day or binge on a TV series
Festive Season and spending it with others
Being invited to social events, or being left on your own. The pressure of living up to expectations can increase stress for people with a mental health condition. Some people also might start putting too much pressure on themselves about what they should buy or do for others. Others might dread catching up with family because it may end in conflict.
Important phone numbers to remember over the festive period
- Lifeline on 13 11 14
- Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
- MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
- Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
- Parent line 1300 301 300
- Q Life (LGBTIQ) support line 1800 184 527