Hi! I'm Sally and I'm a third year Psychology student. I love music, photography and going to watch West End shows. I am very passionate about mental health and am currently the Mental Health Project Editor.
Now that Christmas is approaching, and everyone is starting to feel festive there can be pressure to join in with the festivities. However, mental health doesn’t take a break over Christmas and it’s okay to put your mental health first.
Sometimes Christmas can feel extremely lonely and difficult and can be made a million times harder when people are nagging at you to get into the Christmas spirit and to ‘cheer up’. A lot of people don’t understand that just because it’s Christmas doesn’t mean you can turn off your mental health and get in the Christmas spirit. Yes, Christmas can be great and is a wonderful time of year, but don’t force yourself to join in if you are not in the right mindset.
It’s worth noting that sometimes doing Christmassy things could give your mental health a boost. Spending time with your family and friends can help lift your mood and make you feel less lonely. Going to Christmas markets and going Christmas shopping with your flatmates can really benefit your mental health by getting out of the house. If you don’t feel up to going out maybe suggest watching a Christmas film with your friends, family or housemates as this could also help.
These are all just suggestions and if you don’t feel up to them then don’t force yourself. The most important thing is that you find the time for your mental health and do what you need to do to feel like yourself again. Your family and friends will recognise that your mental health is the most important thing and will want the best for you – so don’t feel as though you are letting anyone down as that is definitely not the case. If you’re feeling stressed out about Christmas presents – most things can be found online, even if you’re trying to shop small, so don’t stress about having to go into town to get them!
It can be so easy to get bogged down during Christmas due to the expectation to feel jolly and merry all the time – but that is impossible and an unrealistic expectation. Take time for yourself, do what you need to do to ensure that your mental health is the priority. You can still enjoy Christmas and get in the spirit without compromising your mental health. Watch Christmas films, wear Christmas jumpers, light Christmas scented candles and spend time with your close friends and family, do what works for you. Whatever you do to get into the Christmas spirit, just make sure it isn’t at the risk of your mental health.
So, yeah Christmas is great, but your mental health is the most important thing. Put yourself first, you don’t owe anyone anything other than taking time for yourself. The best Christmas present you can get yourself is prioritising your mental health.
If you feel as though you need more support, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with Student Wellbeing Services.