Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year?

Whatever your feelings are towards Christmas, this year, there is one thing that is for certain…it will be a Christmas like no other.

With restrictions in place across most of the UK and plans for the big day itself still undecided by Government, there is a lot of things that are currently out of our control, which can leave us feeling a whole array of negative emotions.

Our mental wellbeing can often take a hit at Christmas and this year it is more important than ever to ensure we try and take some steps to avoid the current circumstances from taking too much of a toll of our mental health.

Below we have set out our 5 tips to help you through the festive period, whatever it may turn out to be like.

#1 Don’t neglect your nutrition

Christmas is already a time of year when we may get a little slack when it comes to choosing the healthy option over something  more indulgent and this can be amplified if we start using food as a comfort during difficult times.

Whilst were not saying to avoid all sweat treats,  it is important to ensure you have an adequate amount of healthy, nutrient packed foods in your diet to avoid energy slumps, which can have an effect on your mood.

A study by the University of Sheffield found studies that have shown that “the more one eats a Western or highly processed diet, the more one is at risk for developing psychiatric symptoms, such as depression and anxiety” (1)

#2 Stay connected

This year, large Christmas gatherings are off the table. Whilst it may mean we can’t see extended family or friends, it may give us the opportunity to have more meaningful and deeper conversations with the small number of people we can spend time with, which can lead to better wellbeing all round.

For those that we wont be able to see in person, its important to make the effort to still connect with them on the day. Whether you get everyone involved in a zoom Christmas quiz or just reach out to someone with a simple phone call, it can have a big positive impact on someone’s mental health, which in turn will help boost your own.

#3 Stay active

Keeping up your usual workout routine can be a challenge when transition from the summer/autumn into the winter months and even more so when gyms are constantly being closed, then opened, then closed again thanks to Covid-19.

But keeping active throughout the Christmas period will do wonders for your mental health, thanks to the release of feel good endorphins. (2)

Whether it’s a weekly 5km run around town or a calming at home yoga session, keeping exercise a part of your 2020 Christmas routine will help boost your mood and keep you relaxed during these stressful times.

#4 Get plenty of sleep

A lack of sleep is one of the main contributors to feeling low. A poor night’s sleep can leave us feeling irritable, anxious and lethargic, so ensuring you get plenty of kip during the festive season is vital for keeping on top of your mental wellbeing.

There are a number of things we can do to help with a goods nights sleep such as switching off electricals in the evening, staying active throughout the day and getting in the right micronutrients – with Magnesium being one of the key players in helping you relax and getting a better night’s sleep (3)

#5 Take the pressure off

Maybe more than anything this year, in order to look after our mental health, we just need to take the pressure off having a “perfect Christmas” Try not to compare it to Christmases past and certainly don’t compare it to other peoples “highlight reel” on social media.

Traditions may have to be put on hold and celebrations may be subdued, so the best we can do is just make the best of a not so great situation.

 

  1. Owen, L. and Corfe, B. orcid.org/0000-0003-0449-2228 (2017) The role of diet and nutrition on mental health and wellbeing. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 76 (4)
  2. Mikkelsen K, Stojanovska L, Polenakovic M, Bosevski M, Apostolopoulos V. Exercise and mental health. Maturitas. 2017 Dec
  3. Boomsma D. The magic of magnesium. International journal of pharmaceutical compounding. 2008;12(4)

 

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