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6 Tips for a Mentally Healthy Christmas

The United Kingdom Mental Health Foundation reports that 54% of UK adults are worried about their mental health or someone they know this Christmas. As we approach Christmas, significant numbers of people are expressing their concern for the mental health of relatives (38%), friends (31%), partners/spouses (27%), and children (28%).

Psychological Health Care, based in Australia, reports that a third of Australians report that their relationships are negatively affected by Christmas due to work-life balance issues and financial concerns.

According to a new Pew Research Center survey, only 46% of Americans say they celebrate Christmas as primarily a religious rather than a cultural holiday.

Christmas is often thought to be a season of peace and good cheer; however, the opposite is true for many.

I live in the United Kingdom, where the suicide rate, domestic abuse, family estrangement, and job losses are at their peak during the Christmas season. So instead of celebrating the birth of the savior Jesus Christ (Christ- Christ-mas celebration), with joy, thousands are facing an uncertain future.

The expectations of having to celebrate Christmas whether one wants to or not can be enormous. As a result, researchers point out that The role of Christianity in Christmas is at an all-time low.

Most have taken the 'Christ out of Christmas and celebrate it as a regular holiday. I wonder when we devoid the original value of a long-held tradition of being Jesus Christ Birthday, we go down the rabbit-hole of secularism that widely holds to the 'me' culture. If we are honest, we have fallen into that hole at times!

The 'me' ideal promotes one's desires above all others. Whereas the Christian ideal is to put others above oneself.

I include believing Christians in this following statement- have we lost the practical teachings of Christ to conform with the status quo? We have no wonder that even believers end their own lives, abuse, or divorce those they promised to love and protect.

However, if you celebrate the Christmas season or don't, you must care for yourself and those you love.

So, here are a few tips for your consideration.

1. Have Realistic Expectations

Christmas can become highly stressful when your grand plans float adrift. When things don't go the way you intended, tension between people can ensue. Instead of promising yourself that this year will be the biggest, brightest, and best Christmas ever, permit yourself to have a less-than-perfect Christmas. Accept that you live in the real world where things do go wrong- and this is normal!

2. Have a Back-Up Plan

Because things may not go as planned, having a plan B in your back pocket is wise. For example- have a pre-cooked meat joint or vegetarian option in the freezer that you can quickly defrost if you need it. The same goes for desserts or other foods.

3. Plan Ahead

some people hold to the that Christmas Eve is their primary celebratory day. It has been my family tradition that the primary day is Christmas day. These days, I visit my family for Christmas; however, when they visited me, I cooked as much food as I could the day before. I would arrange the house to accommodate extra people and set the table a day or two before. Pre- preparation allowed me to be more restful on Christmas day so I could enjoy the company of friends and family.

4. Avoid Debt or Overspending.

It is wise to Set a Budget and Stick to it! My family and I agreed that we would not spend over a certain amount of money on each other. We also exchange our wish lists 4 – 6 weeks before Christmas day, which is helpful because it allows us to stay well within our budget. Also, the wish list helps because we end up buying gifts that are actually needed or wanted. There is nothing more disappointing for many people than giving a gift that will be returned or re-gifted.

5. Take Some Time Out

Ensure you take some time for yourself every day to get away from the busyness. Getting outside for a walk in the fresh air, exercising no matter how light, is a great way to boost your hormones, such as serotonin, which positively affects your mood. Equally, spending some quiet time elevates your mind from the pressures of constantly engaging with people.

6. Relax & Enjoy Yourself!

This tip does not need any explanation

– Happy Christmas!

What strategies do you employ to cope with the Christmas season? Let me know- and If this article was helpful to you, please let me know. I would love to hear from you.

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Paula is an Ordained Minister, Blogger, Podcaster, Course Creator, Published Author and has a Master of Arts in Counselling and many other qualifications and a lifetime so, I have heaps to share with you.

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