If you’re feeling anxious or low this Christmas period then we want you to know you’re not alone. For many people, the festive period can be a particularly difficult time to manage.
The University of Manchester students share with you how you can continue to look after yourself and have a mindful Christmas this December.
Create strong self-care habits
When you’re feeling low the last thing you probably want to do is to stick to a routine…but creating a routine that’s full of strong self-care habits will help you continue to look after yourself even when you don’t feel your best. Simple habits can go a long way to help you feel good – and that’s really important over the festive period when our day-to-day routines are interrupted. But what do strong self-care habits look like?
- Eating a healthy and balanced diet full of foods that make you feel good
- Keep moving! Regular exercise – whether that’s walking, cycling, swimming, running or attending a gym class – helps give your body and brain a boost
- Staying connected to others – feeling connected to the people around us is an important part of looking after your mental health, find ways to keep in touch that work for you. Small moments of connection, like listening to a voice note from a friend, grabbing a quick coffee together on your lunchbreak or making time for a video call, can make a big difference.
If you’re looking for ideas about how you can infuse more wellbeing into your day-to-day, then our evidence-based Six Ways to Wellbeing can offer lots of inspiration.
Give yourself (and your studies!) a break
With January assessments and exams looming, it’s easy to get burnt out and taking a break might feel counterproductive. But, stepping away from your workload, especially if you’re struggling with your mental health, can help you build up your resilience and come back refreshed and ready to go – remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
And the same is true for your social life too! If you feel like it’s all getting a bit too much then take a step back and see where you might be able to cut yourself some slack. December is often full of lots of plans and commitments, but going through your calendar and seeing where you can cut back and give yourself some time back might help you feel more on top of things. Whether that’s rescheduling a drink with friends to January or making sure you’ve got a couple of nights a week to take extra care of yourself – a little planning goes a long way.
Be kind to yourself
In the leadup to Christmas it’s easy to feel like everyone around you is having a great time and perhaps you feel the pressure to be having the best time too. But it’s ok if you’re not. In fact lots of people find the festive period difficult so you won’t be alone if you’re not feeling your best.
Try to actively take the pressure off yourself to feel festive, happy or excited for the new year. You might want to try to practice mindfulness and tap into how you’re really feeling, with no judgement, and know that however you’re feeling is ok. Remember that Christmas is just one day in the year – and just like any other day, it will pass. You could also think about taking a break from social media if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Reach out if you need to
Sometimes we all need a little extra support, and that includes at Christmas. Remember to reach out if you need to, whether that’s to a friend, partner, counsellor or University service, you might be surprised with how much it helps.
Whilst your university is closed over the Christmas break, you can find out what services are still on offer, and different support that’s available for your mental health on their websites.
Support is always available:
Samaritans offer 24/7 support – Call 116 123 or email email@example.com
CALM offers support 365 days a year. Lines are open 5pm-midnight – Call 0800 58 58 58