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Recently, I wrote a post on how to survive Christmas when you have depression.
There’s some really great info in there that will 100% help you if you’re currently dreading Christmas because of your mental health.
But that post got me thinking, what if you’re one of those people who normally adores Christmas, who wants the Holidays to be as magical as possible, but this year you’ve been diagnosed with depression.
Or maybe you’ve had depression for years and without fail it’s been ruining the wonderful Christmases you’ve been wanting to have.
Or perhaps you don’t have depression but your mental health just isn’t in a great place right now and you know that Christmas could tip it over the edge, and yet you’re so excited about the Holidays you almost can’t contain yourself…
I feel you because they’re all me.
I’ve always adored Christmas. But I had that first Christmas after my depression diagnosis, and then I had multiple years of Christmas with depression after that, and now finally I’m free of depression but my mental health requires that I still tread carefully.
So in this post, I wanted to let you know my best nine tips for not only surviving Christmas when you have mental health problems, but also loving Christmas and actually being able to enjoy all its magic.
Get the exact daily self-care routine I used to beat depression for good…
… so you never have to feel like your mental health is controlling you and your life again, particularly over the Christmas period.
Because you can improve your mental health and happiness with just a couple of simple tweaks to your day — even if doing day-to-day tasks like cooking dinner seems impossible right now.
But it’s those simple tweaks that’s precisely what you’ll learn when you download the daily self-care checklist I used to overcome depression.
Look though, I get it. I tried everything under the sun to beat my depression and if I had stumbled across this on the internet I probably wouldn’t have believed it either.
But yesterday was a struggle, right? So what have you got to lose? Maybe the things that worked for me will work for you too, and how incredible would that be…
Just click the button below to grab your copy and get ready to take back control of your mental health, so you can wake up each morning with a smile on your face (or at least not drenched in a sea of panic, overwhelm and sadness like you’re currently feeling…)
PLUS, when you sign up today you get the BONUS planning your day printables (a $13 value) — the method I used when I was neck-deep in depression to still get everything done each day, overwhelm free.
Let’s get started with the tips!
1 – Plan well
Sounds obvious right, but planning well cannot be underestimated when it comes to Christmas and your mental health.
The holidays always have a lot going on, and you want to do as much of it as possible, but stress and feeling overwhelmed can easily trigger a depression relapse.
That’s why it’s so important to plan everything and make sure you still have plenty of white space on your calendar because you will need downtime as well (and if you don’t have downtime, when are you going to fit in all those Christmas movies?)
Obviously you will want to plan in events you’re going to, parties and gatherings. But you also want to plan in when you’re going to do your Christmas shopping, when you’re going to wrap presents, when to pack if you’re spending the holidays away, when to cook if you’re hosting…
Basically you want to add in anything that isn’t part of your normal routine because while it might be fun and exciting, it’s still going to be a potential drain on your mental health that you will need to balance with R&R and white space on your calendar.
2 – Shop early
For the majority of us, Christmas also means Christmas shopping and buying presents for our loved ones.
This is one of my favorite things to do, but it quickly becomes a stress-filled nightmare if I haven’t given myself enough time…
You see I love searching until I’ve found the perfect gift for that person (one of my love languages to show my love to others is gift-giving…) but I hate having to settle on something I know isn’t truly right for that person.
I also don’t want to have to go shopping when the crowds are ridiculous and everyone has that frenzied, stressed energy. No thank you.
Instead, start Christmas shopping in early November (you can start earlier if you want, but I find this to be the perfect balance between starting too early and not leaving it too late.)
You should then aim to have the majority of your gifts by the start of December, which leaves December opens to you enjoying the Christmas festivities and not having to frantically shop.
3 – Don’t be afraid to ask for help
While the first two items have been very practical for Christmas time, this is something that is super relevant year-round but really comes into its own during the holidays.
You see the holidays have a lot of pressure for everything to be perfect. Virtually every Christmas movie known to man has some variance on the theme of somehow Christmas is getting ruined and we need to make it perfect to truly be happy, and they always manage it.
With this level of pressure, it’s no wonder Christmas can cause some mental health issues.
But the trick is to ask for help.
For example, maybe you’re hosting Christmas this year and you’re stressed out over alllll the holiday cooking.
Stop. Ask for help.
Maybe everyone could bring a dish (and you can request what dish they bring as well), or you could rope in visitors to help in the kitchen on Christmas day (I feel like Christmas is the one day everyone is more than happy to help out in the kitchen because, hello Christmas dinner, yum!)
Or perhaps you’re going away for Christmas and you’re feeling the pressure to get everything done in time before you have to get in the car or jump on a flight.
Stop and ask for help.
If you’ve got loads of work to do before the holidays ask a colleague or manager for help with your workload or maybe you still can’t find the perfect gift for your brother, ask your mate who’s into similar stuff to pick out something he would like.
There is always someone who we can ask for help. It’s time we started asking.
Also, the whole making Christmas perfect again in the movies always require that people come together and help each other to make it happen. I’m just saying…
4 – Let people know you have depression or mental health problems if you can
I know this can be a really tough one for people and it’s definitely something I use to struggle with.
But if it’s at all possible let the people in your life know you have depression and that you might just need some alone time at some points during the holidays.
This can really take the pressure off you feeling like you have to look happy and joyful the whole time because you’re already given the reason why.
Now I get that some people’s friends and families might not be receptive to you discussing your mental health, and that in certain cases it’s actually better for your mental health not to share.
But if you have understanding people around you then sharing can really take the pressure off. And less pressure means less chance of a depression relapse and more chance you will enjoy Christmas.
Alternatively, if you can’t tell everyone your spending the holidays with, tell one or two trusted people who can cover for you if you’re not feeling good. That can also work really well too.
5 – Stay within your means and don’t be afraid to say no
I get that Christmas is super exciting and we want to do everything, buy everything, be everywhere, etc, etc.
But it’s so important that you stay within your means to avoid masses of stress that you just don’t need when you’re trying to keep your mental health steady.
This can include:
• Financial means (not spending more money than you have)
• Energy means (not overbooking yourself so you don’t have time to rest)
• Food and drink means (not going too overboard with the alcohol and yummy food so it off balances your mental health)
And don’t be afraid to say no to stay in your means!
What we’re trying to do is keep as level as possible so our mental health can stay as level as possible too and to do that we want to cut out as much potential stress as possible, which is why this point is so important.
It’s stressful to spend more money than you have, it’s stressful to be so exhausted, it’s stressful to feel ill thanks to all the food and drink you’ve eaten.
So stay within your means, at least as much as possible.
6 – Reject the perfect Christmas pressure
I did touch on this in number three, but there is so. much. pressure on everyone to make Christmas perfect.
And let’s be honest, life is never perfect, like never ever.
Why? Because it’s life. Full of lots of different people, factors we can’t control (like weather or the grocery store running out of your favorite cranberry sauce) and ourselves, who can be the most surprising factor of all sometimes…
Basically you’re onto a losing battle if you want and expect Christmas to be perfect.
Let go of that expectation.
You can have other expectations, sure! Like Christmas being fun, people having a blast and the food being yummy.
But you’ve got to let go of the idea of everything being perfect because it’s just impossible.
And it will put so much pressure and stress on you that your mental health is not going to play nice.
7 – Allow yourself some alone time
Now maybe this is more one for my fellow introverts but I need regular alone time to recharge.
Especially when my mental health isn’t great.
But Christmas doesn’t tend to have a lot of space for alone time, at least that’s what I’ve always found.
And it also doesn’t really feel in the Christmas spirit to be alone, we think we need to be with our families and friends 24/7 celebrating and having fun, but that just isn’t feasible.
So allow yourself some time alone time to just chill out and do you. Read a book, surf the web, watch Netflix, go for a run, fix your hair, whatever is a relaxing thing you would normally do on your own, keep doing that even though its the holidays.
You need it.
8 – Get plenty of rest and generally look after yourself
Christmas is exciting and there is so much going on that you want to do it all.
But doing everything will just lead to exhaustion, and when you’re super tired you really open yourself up to mental health relapses.
Just as if you were physically ill, being mentally unwell (or having a tendency to become not so hot mentally) means you need to look after yourself.
You need to make sure you’re getting enough sleep, that you’re eating foods that work well for you, drinking enough water, not drinking too much alcohol, etc, etc.
Just super basic self-care, but it’s easy not to prioritize it when you have a party tomorrow, you need to do Christmas shopping the next day, you want to visit the holiday lights the following day…
Suddenly getting eight hours of sleep and eating a home-cooked meal is put at the bottom of the pile.
It’s up to you to pull it back up to the top so you can do all those other lovely things.
9 – Accept that you probably will get down at some point and that’s okay…
The holidays are chock full of heightened emotions, alcohol, fun food, and at least one late night, so it really would be a Christmas miracle if this didn’t affect your mental health at all…
If you accept that you probably will have a wobble at some point it makes it so much easier to deal with it at the time.
And when you deal with it in the best way for you (for example, alone time and sleep is a great healer for me, for you it might be your meds or therapy or something else entirely) you can feel better quicker and get back into the holiday spirit.
Even people who don’t struggle with their mental health year-round can have a moment during the holidays because it’s so intense.
So give yourself some grace, mental health problems or not, you’re still an amazingly worthy human being who deserves a lovely Christmas.
Don’t Forget to grab your free daily self-care routine I used to beat depression for good
If you struggle to prioritize yourself and the self-care you need during the holidays then this printable self-care checklist could be just the thing for you!
Click the button below to grab your copy and get ready to have steady mental health no matter what Christmas throws at you.