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Top Mental Health and Wellbeing Tips This Christmas Holiday

This year has been all about connections for me. I have worked together with many different people, created a manual for those experiencing trauma or going through hard times, had the opportunity to share my words on several podcasts and blog posts and found time to write a few devotionals. This, however, wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the many amazing people I have met on my writing journey which can often feel lonely and overwhelming. I have met many inspirational souls through my Friday Social posts which I started this year. Here, every other Friday, I introduce a creative soul who I believe will be of interest to my readers. Given that I am a mental health advocate, and this is the last blog post this year, I asked those featured in my Friday Social posts, for their top mental health and well-being tips during Christmas holidays.

And I am so grateful that some of the creatives came back to me to share their Christmas mental health and well-being tips. And just so I don’t take all the credit for their tips, I have added some of my own too. So, what can help you to get through these festive days? 

Tree brunches with small Christmas lights and Christmas balls and below is the title Top Mental Health and Wellbeing Tips This Christmas Holiday

Read also ‘Four Tips to Find Joy in the Journey: Dealing With Struggle – Salt + Sparrow Guest Post

Christmas mental health and wellbeing tips

1. Over Christmas, we celebrate the birth of the One who showered us with love, His perfect love. If I think of love and God’s love, then the writer Rachel W. Rains comes to my mind. I featured Rachel in one of the Friday Socials posts and you can check out the post here. And what is Rachel’s tip for looking after your mental health and well-being this Christmas?

“Christmas is a busy time for everyone. But it also can be a stressor for many. Even if you absolutely LOVE the holiday—travel, finances, time constraints, challenging people, and difficult circumstances can overwhelm the merriest Christmas diehard. Wherever you fall on the Christmas holiday scale, the best gift you can give yourself and others this season is giving up the idea of the perfect Christmas. Instead, hold your plans loosely—and hang your expectations on the mantle of man’s imperfection. 

Maybe life’s incredulous, ever-changing circumstances contributed to its necessity, but I’ve had to learn [and relearn] over the years to embrace the fluidity that each year brings. When I remember the lesson, I don’t miss the rigidity of trying to do it all—perfectly! Nope. Not one bit. The love and warmth of an imperfect family who believes is far superior to all the magical things we seek to fill our stocking-shaped hearts. Achieving the perfection of a Hallmark moment can never replace the authentic moments of love, connection, and belonging, that true Perfection brings. 

In what ways can you embrace a perfectly, imperfect Christmas this year? By doing less? Offering forgiveness? Or simply making the decision to make room for the rushing in of advent—the coming of a baby King!”

Rachel W. Rains,

2. As a chronic pain warrior, I am genuinely grateful to everyone who makes a difference for those of us living with chronic pain. These are the ones who don’t undermine our pain but rather try to understand and support people living with chronic pain. I am therefore grateful to Deana, a pain coach, who I featured in this Friday Social post. And what is Deana’s Christmas mental health and well-being tip?

“The holiday season can pose a unique set of challenges for individuals grappling with persistent pain, encompassing both emotional and physical dimensions. One emotional challenge, often underestimated, is the pervasive sense of guilt that can accompany an inability to fully engage in holiday traditions or the need for accommodations. Feeling guilty about not meeting societal or familial expectations may exacerbate emotional distress, fostering a sense of isolation. To navigate this, individuals can prioritize open communication with loved ones, sharing their experiences and needs. By fostering understanding and support, a collaborative approach can be established, creating a more inclusive and empathetic holiday environment.

On the physical front, the delicate balance between rest and socializing can be a constant struggle. Managing chronic pain requires a careful allocation of energy, making it essential to communicate openly about the need for downtime. Establishing this balance allows individuals to participate in meaningful activities while preserving their well-being. Additionally, societal pressures to “keep up” with holiday activities can intensify physical discomfort. Setting realistic expectations and communicating openly about limitations are crucial steps in prioritizing one’s health. By embracing a mindset that values quality over quantity in holiday activities, individuals can reduce the physical strain while finding joy in moments that align with their well-being.”

Deana Tsiapalis,

3. I am also grateful to everyone who participated in the PTSD: My Story Project, a safe space for trauma survivors to share their stories and so inspire others. There are a few contributors who have featured in the Friday Socials as well, and Wanda is one of them. Check out the Friday Socials post about her and her mission here. It is always very moving to meet another trauma survivor, even more so when they are also mental health advocates. And what is Wanda’s mental health tip for this Christmas holiday?

“First and foremost! May the Holiday Season bring YOU the READER peace and grace! How often do we say to ourselves “Happy Holidays”? Or simply give ourselves the credit for making it through another holiday season? There’s this misconception that comes with the holidays, and that is the word “HAPPY”. A lot of people, especially those who battle with their own mental illness and trauma, can find it hard to find joy during this time of year.

There’s the constant pressure of having to show up to family gatherings simply because of “family”. Well, I’m here to remind you that “YOU DON’T HAVE TO SHOW UP!” The holiday season is meant (in my opinion) to gather alongside people (no matter if they are family or not) that bring out that joy, peace, and safety feeling you are so worthy of having during this time of year. If you don’t have that, then it’s okay to take a step back and CELEBRATE AND ENJOY ALL ON YOUR OWN! That’s my tip! Allow yourself to experience your own company and navigate the way you have always wanted to experience the holidays.

The holiday season shouldn’t be experienced in a way that your mental health will come at a cost. A cost where you are left alone healing from toxicity, low-energy people, and overall environments where your light isn’t appreciated. While everyone else enjoys themselves. You deserve, if not just, a HAPPY HOLIDAY BUT A PEACEFUL TOO!!!

From one survivor to another, I see you. I will hold space for you during the holidays. It’s your season too, experience at your own pace and in your own way.”

Wanda Lopez,

4. And I am also grateful to another trauma survivor, Dawne, for sharing her story on PTSD: My Story Project too. Dawne is the Founder of the Crash Support Network, and as a road accident survivor myself I am grateful for all she does. You can find more about her mission in the Friday Socials post here.

“There’s something about the holiday season that makes it feel almost impossible to opt out. It’s everywhere. You can’t be anywhere without the reminder that “it’s the most wonderful time of the year”‘ which of course isn’t what you want to hear as you recover from a devastating motor vehicle crash because, for you, it really isn’t feeling wonderful.  

Remember that not everyone will be feeling the same way as you. Be honest. Tell people what you want or what you do not want to do for the holidays.  Let them know what will make you uncomfortable and make it clear that some things aren’t easy for you.

Don’t dwell on the fact that it’s Christmas. It is, after all, just another day and it will pass and it won’t be long before it will fade into just a distant memory. It will be tough and it might not be what you hoped for but it is temporary and there is an end in sight. Don’t set yourself up with any expectations as you might surprise yourself and experience some uplifting moments.  I am not sure if you noticed but, for better or worse, the holidays roll around every year and you may need to acknowledge that this year has been a particularly rough one.”  

Dawne McKay,

Grey background with light and shiny little stars and on the top is the title Christmas Holiday To-Do List and listed tips for mental health and wellbeing for Christmas holidays

Read also ‘5 Simple Self Love Ideas for the Perfect Valentine’s Day

5. The first Friday Socials post featured Gena. She is a writer and nurse practitioner whose mission is to empower women and promote wellness. Definitely someone who can pull some top tips on mental health and well-being over the Christmas holidays out of her sleeve.

“Gratitude and family. Peace, love, and joy. These are the things we experience during this holiday season.

Or, at least that is what we would like to experience. But, sometimes it’s more like demands and obligations followed by worry, annoyance, and stress. But it doesn’t have to be that way and I have been intentionally trying to keep my seasonal regrets to a minimum and maximize the experience of one more season with friends and family celebrating gratitude and the birth of Jesus.

If you want to remember and celebrate Jesus without feeling stressed, strapped, and trapped this season I have some thoughts. Here are my 6 tips to maintain mental peace amidst the holiday hustle and bustle:

1. Set Realistic Expectations: Be honest with yourself about what you can realistically accomplish during the holidays. Don’t overcommit to events or tasks. It’s okay to say no and focus on what truly matters to you.

2. Simplify Traditions: Consider simplifying or streamlining your holiday traditions. This might mean choosing a few meaningful rituals and letting go of the rest. Quality over quantity can lead to a more peaceful experience.

3. Practice Mindfulness: Be present in the moment. When you’re with loved ones or engaged in holiday activities, focus your attention on the here and now. Mindfulness can reduce anxiety and help you savor the joy of the season.

4. Delegate and Collaborate: Don’t feel like you have to do everything yourself. Enlist the help of family members or friends to share responsibilities like cooking, decorating, or cleaning up.

5. Reflect and Recharge: Take moments for personal reflection and relaxation. Whether through meditation, journaling, or your spiritual practices, find ways to rejuvenate your spirit.

6. Gratitude: Remember the true meaning of the season and practice gratitude. Count your blessings, and focus on the love and togetherness that the holidays represent.

Perhaps the most important thing we can do for our mental well-being is to turn our attention to Jesus and not the tasks, temptations, and tribulations. In him, peace is found.

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” Matthew 6:34, MSG.”

Gena Anderson,

6. If you are looking for more warrior tips then you should keep reading. Nicole, who I was pleased to feature in this Friday Socials post, is a fitness coach and the face behind Barre Fit Warriors. And what are her tips for your well-being and mental health for this Christmas holiday season?

“The Holiday season is just around the corner, and while it can be a time of joy and celebration, it can also bring with it certain challenges for our mental health and wellbeing. This time of year can often be marked by increased stress, expectations, and emotions. Therefore, it becomes crucial to prioritize self-care and take intentional steps to maintain our mental well-being.

Here are my tips on how to look after your mental health and well-being during the Holiday Season.

1. Prioritize self-care: Set aside time for self-care activities that recharge and relax you. Whether it’s taking a warm bath, reading a book, or practicing mindfulness exercises, make sure to prioritize activities that nurture your mental well-being.

2. Set realistic expectations: Understand that the Holiday Season doesn’t have to be picture-perfect. Set realistic expectations for yourself and your loved ones, and remember that it’s okay if everything doesn’t go exactly according to plan. Focus on creating meaningful moments rather than striving for perfection.

3. Practice gratitude: Incorporate gratitude into your daily routine. Take a few moments each day to reflect on the things you’re grateful for. This simple practice can shift your mindset and help you appreciate the positive aspects of your life, fostering a more positive mental state.

4. Maintain boundaries and say no when needed: It’s important to set limits and respect your own boundaries during the busy holiday season. Learn to say no when you’re feeling overwhelmed or when participating in certain activities might negatively impact your mental health. Remember, it’s okay to prioritize your own well-being.

5. Stay connected with loved ones: The holiday season can be an opportune time to connect with family and friends. However, feelings of loneliness or social pressure can also arise during this time. Be intentional about nurturing supportive and rewarding relationships while also being aware of your own limits and the need for alone time when necessary.

6. Take breaks from technology: Excessive screen time can contribute to feelings of stress and anxiety. Be mindful of your technology use during the holiday season and take breaks to engage in activities offline. Spend quality time with loved ones, practice hobbies, or enjoy nature to help you recharge and maintain a healthy balance.

Remember, what works for one person may not work for another. Prioritize your own needs and listen to your intuition to ensure you’re taking care of your mental health and well-being during the Holiday Season.”

Nicole Grant,

7. Christmas might not always be the most wonderful time of the year for everyone. If you are going through a hard patch in life, then I would encourage you to look at Fern’s work. Fern is a counsellor, retired pastor, author, and oral cancer survivor. I featured her in a Friday Socials post here and I am grateful that she has shared her tip for mental health and well-being too.

“It is easy to let the demands and traditions of the season dictate our schedules leaving us exhausted, over-extended, and overwhelmed. The analogy of balancing a weight scale can be a helpful image to uncover ways to manage the season. Daily soul care practices can help us identify what needs to be added or removed to keep a dynamic balance. Reflecting on the expectations we hold plays a key role in our ability to manage that balance. Asking questions helps us stay curious: “Is this an expectation that is realistic or unrealistic?” “Is there another way I can look at this?” Knowing the difference can affect our emotions and reactions and ultimately influence our perspectives and experiences.

It may be helpful, in advance, to also be curious about what a healthy balance for our soul might look like during the Christmas season related to: family time, social commitments, travel, food/refreshments, downtime, finances, etc. and following it up with a daily check-in to see how we are doing. The reflection can uncover great answers to other questions like: “What do I really want to do from a heart of love and generosity? What feels more like an obligation that I’d rather avoid?

Finally cultivating the expectation to extend a gift of self-compassion can be helpful. When feeling pressured, we can choose to push through, feel resentful, or guilty, but when we do that we often don’t get to enjoy what we really want to enjoy because we aren’t honoring our human limitations or our values. As we take the much-needed time for daily soul care, it creates space for us to respond in ways that bring life and balance.  Questions like: “What do I need right now? What is one thing I can do that might help?” “What will bring me peace?” are helpful questions that attend to our whole self – body, soul and spirit in the following areas: 1) Body: rest, food, hydration; 2)  Soul: mind, thoughts, emotions, and decisions; 3)  Spirit: connecting with God and with family, friends, and others.”

Fern E.M. Buszowski,

8. When it comes to connections, distance itself is not normally the reason that they break down. Whether we are physically close to people or further apart, distance won’t break a strong bridge that has been built. And I am grateful for my connection with Pastor Natalie, who I featured in the Friday Socials post here. And what are her tips for supporting our mental health and well-being during the Christmas holidays?

“Do you feel extra stress during the holidays? Do you begin to wonder, how will you be able to accomplish everything you must get done? Truth be told, this extra stress can impact us mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, etc. The key is to recognize how it is impacting you to handle it better.

Here are my tips to help with extra stress during Christmas:

1. Plan appropriately – There may be some unrealistic expectations that come with the holidays. Keep in mind that you cannot say ‘yes’ to every Christmas gathering. Plan out your schedule purposefully to be able to include the things you sincerely want to be a part of without a sense of obligation. Be honest with those who invite you about how much time you can spend and if you need to leave early.

2. Be realistic – Perhaps you agreed to attend a gathering and now you cannot. Be realistic and honest about it. Allowing yourself to become overly anxious over it will only lead to further effects on your overall mental health and well-being. If the setting or group gathering will impact you negatively, you must decide if it is worth your peace. After all, this is meant to be a joyous time and not something that will leave you with a sense of regret for attending. Perhaps you set some goals you thought you could accomplish and now you see you won’t. Decide to be realistic and adjust accordingly. Get help to complete your goals when possible and accept the things you could not get done. Also, do not overspend to appease, prove, or make a point.

3. Accept what you cannot accomplish – It feels wonderful when you have plans in place. However, when you cannot accomplish them, it can lead to disappointment and insecurity if you permit it. Don’t allow yourself to compare yourself to others. God knows what you can do so make up your mind that whatever you do it will be done well with sincerity. Others may or may not be able to do as you do but that should not matter. Remember Christmas is a time of celebrating the birth of Jesus. Don’t make it about what you can or cannot do. Don’t lose focus of the true meaning of this time of year.

4. Give generously – Make sure you keep in mind why you are doing what you are doing. What do I mean? If you choose to give gifts, donations, etc. during Christmas do it with a sincere heart. There is something about giving generously without a second thought. When you are giving to others without an expectation of anything in return, you are deciding to do so without any strings attached. You do not make anyone feel as though they owe you anything. You are doing this with a pure heart, and I believe God will see this and reward you for it. There is an absolute joy in giving generously.

5. Take care of yourself – Making sure you take care of yourself during Christmas must be a priority. Do not allow other things to put you in a place where you are not well. Perhaps you need to include intentional breaks throughout this time of year. Maybe you must include something you enjoy doing while you are in the midst of the hustle and bustle. Make sure you talk with someone you can trust if you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or any other major mental health issues you are experiencing during Christmas.

Although the stress of Christmas can be overwhelming, you can still find joy in this season. Take a moment to decide that you are going to enjoy the holidays and be intentional with the things you are doing. This can be a very hard time for many, so I encourage you to get help if you need it. You can ask for prayer or call someone you can trust.”

Pastor Natalie,

9. The creative soul I introduced in the last Friday Socials post of the year was Sona. Sona is an artist and an advocate of love and kindness. And I am grateful that she shared her top Christmas mental health and well-being tips with us.

“The end of the year with the arrival of the holidays can be quite challenging. Often, we retrospectively evaluate the moments we have experienced, the opportunities we have overlooked, or we miss having the person by our side who once completed our everyday life.

As a spiritual coach, I frequently see people around me who are immersed in grief. My tips on how to maintain and protect our own well-being are mostly based on self-love. Recognizing that we have been through a difficult journey and have something to be proud of is a very useful tool.

Setting aside time for our own emotions and needs can release accumulated stress. For me, the most effective method to maintain mental equilibrium is to practice meditation and exercise, which gradually transform the mindset and act as a cleansing process that produces endorphins.

Each present moment offers a wide range of factors for which we may be grateful. I find gratitude and hope to be some of the most powerful gifts that enable us to radiate goodness and kindness from within ourselves to others, and to ourselves as well. Be kind to yourself and accept your emotions with love, understanding and compassion. Whether they are positive or negative. All our feelings are of equal value. Remember that there are so many incredible beings on this planet who are happy to help you through this process and give you their loving healing kindness. You are never alone on this journey.

And don’t forget to treat yourself on a daily basis with at least some pleasurable small things. You won’t go wrong with your favourite meal or an activity that recharges your insides with positive vibes. This can definitely create a joyous feeling stimulating uplifting progress from any dark trenches of our minds.”

Sona Maple,

Christmas tree brunch with lights and in the middle is the title Give yourself the gift of love and kindness this Christmas

Read also ‘5 Ways to Love Yourself on Valentine’s Day and Every Day

What an impressive collection of tips for our mental health and well-being over the Christmas holidays. I am really grateful to all those who contributed and shared their tips. There isn’t too much I can add, but perhaps just a few gentle reminders that can come in handy any time.

Amidst the hecticness of the festive season, allocate time for self-care. Whether it’s a warm bath, book, meditation or simply a walk, carve out a moment for yourself. Self-care also means saying no to certain events or commitments if you think they will overwhelm you. Prioritising your mental health is crucial. However, whilst it’s important to set boundaries, staying connected with loved ones is also vital. Reach out, have meaningful conversations, and build connections that uplift your spirit. Create and maintain and traditions that bring joy and have meaning for you and your loved ones. These can create lasting memories and foster a sense of togetherness. And remember, it’s never a bad thing to ask for support when it’s needed. So, don’t hesitate to seek professional help or talk to a trusted friend if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Everyone’s experience during the holidays is unique, so adapting these tips to fit your own circumstances and needs is key. Taking care of yourself mentally and emotionally can help make the season more enjoyable and fulfilling. Taking time to slow down also provides us with the opportunity to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas.

Did you find the tips helpful? What are your tips for supporting our mental health and well-being over the Christmas holiday period? Share your tips in a comment below and inspire others. I look forward to hearing from you. 

Get the keys to your healing

If you are going through a hard time and feel that a bit of encouragement and support is what you might need right now, feel free to download my free e-book 7 Keys To Self-Healing, A Trauma Survivor’s Guide. It will equip you with knowledge and tools to assist you on your healing journey, help you care for yourself, and feel more in control. Download your free e-book here

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4 thoughts on “Top Mental Health and Wellbeing Tips This Christmas Holiday”

    1. Excellent advice here my friend. I genuinely set the intent to take the Christmas spirit with me from day to day not because the holiday is a big deal to me but because everything is our frame of mind. I do visit with family when I’m back home like this year but during most Christmas holidays I’m abroad so it mainly is just another day and I bring my cheer. Humans are kind of odd because most decide to feel a specific way just because of a date on a calendar. I never quite understood that when they could choose to feel that way independent of a date. Even as a kid I thought it was weird lol.

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