It’s that time of year again. Tinsel and fairy lights adorn houses and trees, Christmas songs blare from the radio, mulled wine is served and not to mention advent calendars and nativity plays. This time of year is a time to be with family and friends, whatever faith you are.
This can mean that the Christmas period can be a challenging time for those suffering from mental ill health, due to isolation and loneliness or the overtly social time frame.
If you are feeling like this, the best thing to do is to either talk to someone you trust, phone a helpline or charity if you need, speak to a psychotherapist or use other coping mechanisms. These include journalling, mindfulness, deep breathing or relaxation CD’s. Whichever works for you, make sure you don’t bottle things up.
Being that it is coming to the end of the year and looking ahead to 2018, I thought I would share some new years resolutions for positive mental health that you can implement in your life.
1) I will invest in self-care this year.
Self-care means I will actually take time out of my day to check in with myself and decide what I need. This isn’t selfish, it is vital to survival of the bleak winter period in particular.
Each day, I will invest in self care, whether its running a warm bubble bath and soaking for half an hour, journaling out my negative feelings and replacing them with positive ones, colouring for relaxation or just getting some much needed down time in front of the TV in my PJs. I will make sure I invest every day in self-care activities.
2) I will make sure I go outside more.
In the winter, I am definitely more prone to curling up like a doormouse and hibernating inside, in the comfort of my warm home, chatting to friends on the phone and computer. I am also a sucker for my blanket and a warm mug of hot chocolate.
While this is good some of the time, I know that I need to push myself out more into the cold and bright mornings. So, my resolution is to make sure I go out and get enough light and Vitamin D to boost my mood and health and enough exercise to keep my mind and heart healthy.
3) I will make sure to be present.
A friend of mine gave me this tip when she said –‘Stay in the Now and Enjoy the Moment’
I definitely need to do this more and not worry myself too much. Staying present means that the only moment is now – try and focus on something positive in the present and not worry too far ahead.
4) I will try not to worry what others think and not beat myself up.
Easier said than done, this resolution had come about due to having people-pleasing tendencies. I hate upsetting people. This means that I will often overthink or worry about others and what they think. This year I want to spend less time fretting and not beat myself up over small things that make a mountain from a molehill!
5) I will have a more positive mind-set.
I will not be ashamed of how I am feeling and feel bad because of it. I will be more accepting of my feelings and needs. I will know that even if I am at rock bottom, ‘This too shall pass’ and I will find a way to get through adversity and be positive. I will actively think positive thoughts and push myself to achieve my goals.
If you are suffering from depression, anxiety or any other mental illness please reach out for help. Contact The Brighton Wellness Centre. Phone sessions, online (Skype) sessions and face-to-face sessions are available.
Looking forward to a happier, healthier 2018 and wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah!
Jessica Valentine is a Chartered Counselling Psychologist who supports people within the local community and worldwide online. She offers online Skype therapy and face-to-face counselling in East Sussex, Brighton-Hove.
follow her on FB and IG: @getwellbrighton