eople enjoy a drink and chat in The Long Hall pub in Dublin city center (Image: Getty Images)
The holiday season is often portrayed as a time of joy, celebration, and togetherness. However, for many, it can also be a source of stress, loneliness, and emotional challenges. 
 
In this blog, we'll explore some practical tips to navigate the festive season with resilience and prioritise your mental fitness. 

1. Set Realistic Expectations: 

The pressure to create the perfect holiday experience can be overwhelming. Instead of aiming for perfection, set realistic expectations for yourself. Understand that not every moment needs to be flawless, and it's likely that somethings won't go as planned.  
 
Expect the unexpected and remember you have done your best and your best is good enough. 
Signs showing different directions

2. Establish Boundaries: 

Learn to say no and set boundaries to protect your mental fitness. There may be additional demands on your time from family and friends, remember you have a responsibility to look after yourself as well as others.  
 
Take the time to rest, laugh and do activities that bring you joy and relaxation. 
Woman wearing t shirt with text 'Not today'

3. Connect with Others: 

If you're feeling isolated during the holidays, reach out to friends, family, or support groups.  
 
Social connections are essential for mental fitness, and sharing your thoughts and feelings can provide comfort and understanding. Read more on How to Beat Loneliness here. 

4. Create New Traditions: 

If traditional celebrations trigger negative emotions, consider creating new, meaningful traditions.  
 
This could be as simple as a cosy movie night, volunteering, or starting a hobby. Focus on activities that align with your values and bring a sense of fulfillment. 
woman reading in cosy christmas room

5. Proactively Manage Stress: 

Practice mindfulness to manage stress and stay present in the moment. Techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, and yoga can help calm your mind and reduce anxiety.  
 
Find a method that works for you and incorporate it into your daily routine. Remember being outside and engaging with nature can generate feelings of peace and calm. 

6. Stay Active: 

Physical activity is not only beneficial for your body but also for your mental fitness. Whether it's a brisk walk, a workout routine, or dancing to your favorite music, staying active releases endorphins, which can improve your mood. 
person stretching before a jog in winter weather

7. Limit Screen Time: 

The constant barrage of holiday-themed images on social media can contribute to feelings of inadequacy and FOMO (fear of missing out).  
 
Set boundaries for screen time to avoid unnecessary stress and comparison. Take a look at our blog on How Social Media Detoxing Can Improve Your Life. 
person holding phone which has social media app open

8. Practice Gratitude: 

Cultivate a mindset of gratitude by reflecting on positive aspects of your life. Create a gratitude journal and write down three things you're thankful for each day. Focusing on the positive can shift your perspective. 
Coping over Christmas involves a combination of self-awareness, self-care, and realistic expectations. By implementing these tips, you can prioritise your mental fitness and navigate the holiday season with a greater sense of peace and resilience. Remember that your wellbeing is the most valuable gift you can give to yourself and others during this festive time. 
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