Having ups and downs in terms of your feelings and emotions is normal, and the festive season is no exception to this rule. Keeping this in mind, it’s important to take care of your mental health, especially over the holidays. Here are some ways to do this.

Validate your feelings

Your feelings, whether positive, negative or indifferent, are valid. Be patient and kind to yourself whenever you experience them. The reason why this is such a powerful thing to do, is that when you recognise your feelings and you accept that you’re feeling them, you can let the healing begin.

Get quality rest

Getting quality rest is what the holidays are all about, but we can sometimes think we’re resting when we’re really not. For example, sitting on the couch scrolling through Instagram may feel like you’re resting, but think about all of the strain you’re putting on your eyes, and how much information you’re having to process, and so on. To truly let your mind rest, try switching off your devices and going out into your garden, or sitting somewhere comfortable and quiet. If you feel restless at first, that’s completely normal. Try your best to stay in your quiet space, and allow your mind to let go of the usual thoughts and worries.

Let go of expectations

The holidays can come with a lot of expectations, and these can put pressure on you to feel like you’re having fun- even when you’re not. The holidays can be special, but mostly they’re just like any other time of the year. So if things aren’t going perfectly, that’s normal and it’s ok to accept it. If you’re seeing a lot of picture perfect holidays on your social media, remember that that’s just one moment in time that someone has created on their page, and not a true representation of how they’re feeling.

Take a break

If being around your family or loved ones this festive season becomes a bit too intense, you have a right to walk away and take a break for yourself. Don’t feel like you have to tolerate certain behaviour in order to please those around you. You can quietly distance yourself from a chaotic or uncomfortable holiday environment.

Start small

Creating positive changes in your life can feel overwhelming. But if you start small, every little good thing you do for your mental health will eventually add up. For example, if you’d like to start exercising- don’t push yourself to sprint the first time. Start with walking, then jogging and eventually, you’ll become fit enough to sprint. This applies to any new habit you’d like to form, whether it’s eating healthier, getting more sleep, journaling, mediation and so on. Because you have more free time during the holidays, you have the perfect opportunity to make a small change or two. Give it a try and even if it doesn’t work out the first time, try it again!

You’re worthy of having a good festive season, and caring for your mental health is a key aspect in this. Don’t feel guilty for doing what you need to do for yourself- during these holidays as well as in the new year!

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