Mental Health during the Festive Season
For lots of people, the festive season is one of the best times of the year, especially when you factor in presents, good food, and time with family. But for many others, this time of year can be a significant source of anxiety and stress… and for some, this can contribute to a decline in mental well-being.
There are plenty of reasons why people can find this time of year anxiety-inducing; from increased financial worries, to intensified feelings of loneliness.
Sometimes these feelings, such as resurfaced grief over the loss of a loved one, can be unavoidable and can only reduce with time. But other factors, such as drinking too much alcohol, can also contribute to negative emotions at Christmas .
However, with a lot of the common sources of stress there are actions that can be taken to relieve pressure, avoid a negative impact on mental-wellbeing, and enjoy the Christmas season as much as possible.
Money and financial worries are the biggest causes of stress in the UK, so it isn’t surprising that Christmas, with the added expenditure on presents, food and drink, can be particularly expensive, which can lead to stress and anxiety.  People can often find themselves dipping into savings, relying on credit cards or overdrafts, and building up unwanted debt. Often, that debt won’t be paid off until well into the New Year.
However, there are several things that can be done to reduce these financial pressures, and therefore any anxiety about them, such as:
– Buying presents in advance of Christmas – this is a good way to alleviate stress associated with the cost of presents
– Picking Christmas presents as the year goes on so that the cost of the presents isn’t limited to a single month. This ensures the financial outlay becomes more manageable as it is spread out over a longer period of time. Doing this also means that you can take advantage of deals all year round.
– Reduce the quantity of presents you buy (and therefore the cost) by organising a ‘Secret Santa’ amongst family or friends. A ‘Secret Santa’ doesn’t just have to be for novelty gifts and, as well as alleviating some financial pressure, it also allows you to focus on buying one person a gift, which can be much more manageable than a long and daunting list.
Even with financial pressures reduced, you may find that the Christmas period still has a negative effect upon your mental wellbeing.
However, Christmas tends to be when people spend the most time with family and friends, and that provides a unique opportunity to reflect on the year with the people closest to you, and share your feelings.
This can involve celebrating the successes of the year, but it’s equally important to be honest about what we’ve struggled with over the course of the year, and share those feelings too. Family and friends can help to listen, reflect with you, and provide an alternative perspective. If you can share your stresses; whether they’re financial, emotional, or anywhere in between, then you’re more likely to be able to manage and work through them.
While Christmas time is stressful for a lot of people, with planning and talking, there are ways those feelings can be managed and reduced.
The following infographic created in aid of mental health awareness by Rehab 4 Addiction has some great tips on how to alleviate your stress and manage your mental well-being, this Christmas:
We would also like this opportunity, on behalf of both Rehab 4 Addiction and ID Medical, to wish you a very happy festive season.
 People too embarrassed to admit of loneliness at Christmas https://www.mind.org.uk/news-campaigns/news/third-of-people-too-embarrassed-to-admit-they-are-lonely-at-christmas/
 Money worries at Christmas https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/blog/how-to-stop-money-worries-ruining-christmas