'Tis the season to be jolly
Are you feeling festive yet? It’s less than 2 weeks to Christmas! I know this because it’s cold and my head is frantic with shopping. I’ve also woken up humming ‘jingle bells’ more than once this week.
While Christmas can be a lot of fun (who doesn’t like presents?) it is also a strange time for many of us. Routines get disrupted. Healthy diets go out the window. There’s pressure to be cheerful, often with people we don’t feel like being cheerful with. All of this, alongside the dark days and the drop in temperature, can sometimes leave us feeling anything but jolly.
So if you’re struggling to feel the jolly this festive season, here are some things you can do:
Get (a bit) physical
A bit of exercise can really lift your mood. According to research, getting some exercise outdoors can be as effective as antidepressants for treating depression. So, wrap up warm and go for a winter walk. I like frosty mornings the best. Or how about ice-skating? Or you could build a snowman? If you’d rather stay warm, blast out some festive tunes and have a boogie in your front room.
Catch the natural light
The dark days can really get us down. So make the most of what light there is and get those curtains open! Get out and about during daylight hours. If you suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder), light therapy can also be helpful, using a bright specialist light for a couple of hours each day.
Most of us over-indulge on rich food and drink over Christmas, but this can mean that your blood sugars rocket up and down, taking your energy levels and moods with them. By all means, treat yourself. But make sure you get a balance. Try not to go over-the-top. And make sure you still get some good portions of fruit and veg into your diet, and a full range of vitamins.
If the festivities are feeling overwhelming, have a rest. Take some time out. Gift yourself some down-time. Light some candles, and curl up with a movie and a cup of cocoa. And make sure you get enough shut-eye. Sleep can sometimes be the cure to all ills; it can give you the perspective and resilience to face the next day with a bit more energy.
None of us are superheroes! You can’t be everything to everyone all the time. So don’t put pressure on yourself to be the flawless host. Or the most hilarious party-goer. Or a perfect-present-buying extraordinaire. Or the best boyfriend/sister/parent/friend that ever lived. Or a time-and-space-traveller, existing in several places at once. Be you. And enjoy being you. You’re amazing!
Talk to someone
If you find the festive season difficult, talk to someone about how you’re feeling. It doesn’t matter who as long as it’s someone you trust. Talking is always good. You might even find that they are relieved to hear that someone else is finding aspects of the season difficult too. And you might be able to help each other.
Do something good
Christmas is a great time to do something for someone else. Even if that’s just smiling and spreading a bit of cheer to strangers that you meet on the street. Lots of people get lonely, feel under pressure, or struggle to make ends meet at Christmas. Think of the people you know. Can you do anything to make their Christmas a little easier and happier? It doesn’t have to be something big. Or you could find a charity you can help at Christmas. Do some volunteering, or ask people to donate to them instead of giving you presents you don’t need. Most charities are grateful for anything you can do, even if that’s just spreading the word about what they are doing.
But most importantly, give yourself the gift of self-care, and have a happy, peaceful season whether you’re feeling the jolly or not!