Tips to look after your mental health during the holiday season

“Tis the season to be jolly…” I am guessing most of you can sing the next line. Yes, it is that time of the year again where festive music is playing everywhere you go. The lyrics of these songs are a. constant reminder that, Christmas and the holidays are “supposed” to be a jolly time for everyone. For some people that may be true, for others this may not be how they are feeling at all. 

Christmas can be overwhelming for anyone, but if you’re dealing with a mental health or emotional challenge, it can be even more of a struggle.  It is important for us all to take care of our mental health during the holidays. Here are our top 4 tips:

  1. It is okay to not feel okay –  You don’t “have to” feel jolly during the festive season, be true to yourself and acknowledge how you are really feeling. Honoring our feelings is paying respect to ourselves. 
  2. Try and jot down your feelings & thoughts (whatever they may be) – Begin to further explore these feelings by writing down the associated thoughts, e.g. “I am feeling disappointed because…”Jotting down our thoughts give us a chance to process our feelings, as well as to find out what we may need to feel better. For example, we may realise that we need quality rest, we may need to connect with others, we may need to declutter our physical as well as mental space, we may need reconciliation with someone important. 
  3. Talk about your feelings – There’s a tendency to over-indulge at Christmas due to the availability of food and alcohol and for some, as a way of covering up difficult feelings. It’s hard to admit that at such an exciting time of year, we don’t actually feel that great, but talking about our feelings can improve our mood and make it easier to deal with the tough times.
  4. Be compassionate to yourself – give yourself a pat on your back for getting through this year.  Allow yourself to take a ‘time out’ if you feel your stress levels rising.   This could be a walk, going out for a coffee or listening to music – whatever will help you to relax or unwind.  Saying ‘no’ can be difficult if you feel pressured to join in with family parties, however setting limits is important for your own wellbeing. 

It’s important to remember that there are many support organisations who are still there for you over the holidays.  Make sure to check in with your own support systems and reach out to the ones below if you need to.

The Samaritans 24 hour hotline 28960000

Suicide Prevention Hotline 24 hour (Cantonese Only) 23820000

Caritas Family Support Centre 24 hour hotline 18288

Youth Outreach 24 hour hotline 90881023

*All services listed above are in English & Cantonese

Dr Melissa Chan is Clinical Psychologist who works at Central Minds Ltd.

If you are interested in scheduling a session with Dr Melissa Chan or have further queries, please contact us today. 

About The Author

Dr. Melissa Chan

Dr. Chan is a UK trained Clinical Psychologist, who has worked in the field of mental health taking up clinical and research roles in the community and academic settings for ten years. Her training in the NHS settings gave her exposure in treating people with symptoms of mood and anxiety disorders. She also works with people struggling with low self-esteem, stress, bereavement and grief, adjustment difficulties and those affected by physical health problems.