Tips For Looking After Your Mental Health This Festive Season
This time of year we would usually be full of festive cheer and out celebrating the Christmas season with days and nights out with friends and family, eating, drinking and generally being merry. Much like the rest of 2020 this festive season is looking pretty different. After almost a year of towing the line, obeying the rules and keeping ourselves and loved ones safe and of course protecting the NHS, things may be taking their toll.
Whether you are a student living under the additional pressure imposed by COVID restrictions, searching for your first graduate job or are working life at the moment is tough.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious or low it is important to acknowledge and accept these feelings. It’s okay not to be okay. It is vital that mental health is treated with the same importance as physical health. It’s time to break down the taboo’s and address what is an issue exasperated by the events of 2020.
There are many things that you can do to help yourself feel better:
Get Enough Sleep
Everything feels worse when you are tired. It is harder to focus, you are irritable and problems feel much bigger. Long term sleep deprivation can have very negative effects on your physical health and your mental health which is why it is important to address sleep problems.
We all know that it is recommended that an adult get around 7-9 hours of sleep a night but it doesn’t always happen. There are a few simple tips to help you get a good night’s sleep.
- Avoid blue light in the bedroom. The light emitted from electronic devices mimics daylight which confuses the circadian rhythm (the sleep wake cycle). In other words they stimulate you, just when you need it least.
- Don’t go to bed stressed. Okay so it may not be possible to simply switch off your worries, however writing them down right before bed can help you to get a good night’s sleep. Ensure you have some time to wind down before bed, take a bath, read a book, watch TV. Give your mind a chance to unwind.
- Listen to relaxing music or podcasts. There are so many things out there designed to help you sleep.
- If anxiety keeps you tossing and turning at night a weighted blanket could help you.
Apps to Help With Stress and Anxiety
When it is left to fester stress can eat away at you, it’s not a good place to be and not pleasant to be around. Embrace the technological answer to dealing with stress and download one of the many apps designed to help you deal with and reduce anxiety. From meditation to mindfulness, games to facing your fears there is an app for everyone. Find the best anxiety app for you.
Distract Yourself From Your Worries
When life was “normal” it was much easier, life was full of distractions. You probably didn’t even realise the profound benefits of the things that were taken for granted, socialising, holidays, hugs, sports. At the moment you may need to actively seek out distractions. It can be anything and is different for everyone, whatever works for you so long at it effectively holds your attention. The important thing is to choose healthy distractions. Exercise, calling friends, getting out in the fresh air, a hobby, whatever pulls you out of the cycle of anxiety.
Talk it Out
Bottling things up is never healthy. Talk to friends and family about how you feel, sometimes talking through what is bothering you can alleviate the anxiety. If you are finding that it is getting too much, speak to a professional.
Socialise, even if it is on a Screen
Most of us are people people. Even the most introverted personalities are missing the interaction with peers and family that 2020 has deprived us of. Luckily we have Zoom, facetime, video calls, social media, Hangouts. Take full advantage of the technology at your fingertips and stay in touch with loved ones. You may not be spending the run up to Christmas how you would usually but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.
Look after yourself this festive season and make the most of COVID Christmas.
Mental Health Foundation
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