Taking Care of our Mental Health this Christmas. -Blogmas day 12

I’m aware of how daunting it is to read on “help posts”. It’s not something you don’t already know. It’s more like- I know I have to do this but it’s particularly difficult to do and makes me even more exhausted-. I feel that way too but read this anyway.

Whether you live with a mental health problem or not, Christmas can be a really stressful time of year. The temptation to indulge in travels, food and drinks, the pressure to socialise with family and friends, and of course the financial strain that presents and celebrations can put on your finances. So, while the holidays might be considered the most wonderful time of the year, they can be a difficult and stressful time too. This period can be a particularly vulnerable time for those with emotional wellbeing or mental health challenges like myself. We tend to be overwhelmed with everything going on around us and even the little we find ourselves doing, we end up feeling pressured because all we want is a “normal period”.  

Funny thing is, mental health doesn’t take time off at Christmas. Infact if there’s a time that it hits its peak then it’ll be Christmas or during festive times and considering this year is not like most “normal years”, I’m sure it will be either overwhelmingly or underwhelmingly different (depending on the household). So, this year I have decided to keep my expectations around Christmas ‘real and achievable’ and these are my plans.

Acknowledge whatever is felt whenever; If someone close to you has recently died or you can’t be with loved ones for other reasons, realize that it’s “normal” to feel sadness and grief. (I keep quoting my normal because normal is subjective). There are people who I’m sure feel sad or grief seldomly. It’s OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season or because it’s Christmas and they say you should be merry. Acknowledge what you feel but don’t stay in that feeling for long especially if it’s a sad one, there’s just too much to do to keep wallowing in misery for long. In the course of editing this my friend, asked a question on how to get out of one emotional state, particularly a negative one. Well, I don’t know how to do that exactly but i can tell you for sure that everything starts with oneself. You can decide to and then attempt getting out of that state; for example, starting a conversation about it, watching a movie, going to the gym, Journaling, going out to a chill event, sleeping even OR you can decide to get out of that negative state and sit with arms in between legs waiting for a miracle (which i can assure you won’t happen or the possibilities of it happening is close to zero). It really starts with you. That being said i will refer you to this post. Just see how she did something for herself, by herself.

Set aside most differences; Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. I adopted this behaviour on the fourth of this month at a funeral and I’ve been applauding myself since. For the first time in like forever, i didn’t stress myself and it was such a fulfilment. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion and if you never even get that appropriate time, you can forget about it all together. If you have an aunt or grand-mother that never fails to ask pervasive questions about when there’ll be a wedding/new baby/house on the horizon every Christmas they come around for, try to let it wash over you. And be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are, they’re feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too.

Hide if or when possible; Make some time for yourself. Find an activity you enjoy. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, focusing on your breathe and restoring inner calm. Taking a walk at night, read a book, listen to soothing music, chat with that one friend who is genuinely there for you. Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt- don’t abandon your healthy habits. The pot belly nu, resist it. The overweight nu, resist it.?. Avoid excessive alcohol. It’s sensible to drink in moderation and avoid drug use. Adjust the time you spend on social media as you see fit. The undue stress social media gives especially Instagram (well it can be Facebook for someone else)…. wheeww! Hide from all that!!

Tame the chaos!! If you’re spending Christmas alone, have a think about what you want to do beforehand. You may decide to curl up with a favourite series, book yourself a getaway or arrange to go to a lunch with someone. Or like me, binge every Christmas themed show, movies and watch South park from season one to twenty-four on Netflix, you have to plan ahead. Also let me know if you want a curated list of the movies and shows I will be watching. Maybe from now on I will recommend a movie at the end of every blog post so y’all can watch. Most of the time I get sad during Christmas because I don’t have that boyfriend who will whisk me away to just have some good time together doing all the things we love, or even go on that date where we will end up kissing at the end of the night. But at this point, to an extent I don’t even care anymore. It’s become my normal. I have reached that acceptance stage of it not happening until “the right time”. Honestly, I’m not even the only one in this and this and other reasons are why we are often sad during the holidays.

Seek professional help if you need it or take it if and when it’s given. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for a while, talk to a trusted fellow or a mental health professional. There is no shame in going or coming out from the mental health unit for or after seeking or treating yourself. If anything at all, it shows you respect yourself and is loyal to yourself. And if you think you can be the shoulder for someone to cry on like in Tommy Page’s song, be that shoulder, there is some peace in being the one with problems yet offering help. You end up helping yourself too. In conclusion; I urge all of you to be like Marie Kondo, adopt the throwing out things that don’t ‘spark joy’ philosophy. Attend gatherings that mean something to you or make you feel good. Anxiety can affect anyone at Christmas, regardless of age, sex or social status. It is not a sign of weakness and any of us can experience low mood, depression or anxiety at any stage in our lives. If you or someone you know is showing symptoms of depression or anxiety, start a conversation. On the real though, have a Christmas that works for you!!! By yourself and for yourself.

Tell me what I can do for you this Christmas. I’d love to do something for someone. Comment away?.

By our super star,


This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Bright Asaah

    Interesting read
    What you should do for me?
    Urrhm just keep writing ?

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