Taking inspiration from Buzzfeed's Mental Health Week a couple of weeks ago (that yours truly was featured in, check out number 21), I have decided to share some of the ways that I cope with stress, depression, anxiety and possibly now, bipolar, however, I think these tips could help anyone just going through a rough patch, because I know we've all been there at some point.
The holidays can be especially stressful with all the gift buying and food preparation, so I feel it is really important to take a step back and to look after your own health during this stressful time of year. I know all too well that if you're not feeling great over the festive period, you will end up burning out and unable to enjoy yourself at all, whilst all your friends and family are celebrating. After a mishap like this last year, I am ensuring this year that I look after myself, and I think you should do too.
If you haven't got, you haven't got
This is my major rule for any gift or food-buying period, whether that's birthdays, parties or Christmas. I find myself stressing out over the smallest of things. I fear I haven't bought enough presents, I haven't catered for everyone or I haven't shown the people around me that I love them. The one thing I've learnt over the years is that the people who matter will love you no matter what, even if you forgot them off your Christmas card list, or couldn't afford the gift they have been hinting at for months.
If you have the perfect presents and haven't missed a single person out, that's great too, but it's important to keep calm about the situation, and remember that there is always a plan B. If you're on a tight budget, why not consider making your own sweet treats or skincare goodies for your loved ones, or if you're stretched for time, only buy presents for those you are going to see until you can head out to the shop again.
Take time for you
For most people, Christmas and other winter holidays are a time for love and making others happy, meaning you'll eventually end up spending more time worrying about other people's happiness levels before your own. Making sure you make small pockets of time to look after yourself are essential.
If you're a huge music fan, take time to listen to your favourite album, or create a happiness playlist that you can stick on to boost your morale and eradicate stress. Crafting is a great hobby to have around the holidays, and small projects can keep you busy during your breaks from festivities, and will even help you with those pesky last minute presents!
Whether meditating or moshing is your thing, make time for it during the season. You want to start the new year feeling as positive as possible, instead of feeling frazzled and burnt out from all the stress of the holiday period.
Learn to relax
This one is a biggie for me when my anxiety takes hold, but it a really simple way to make sure you have an enjoyable holiday. Using apps like Pacifica or Pause will provide new ways to relax that have been proven to help anxiety and stress. Trying different forms of meditation and calming breathing techniques will help you focus and dispel the woes of the holidays.
If apps and guided meditation aren't your thing, try some methods that have relaxed you in different situations in the past. Taking a bubble bath, colouring in and reading a favourite book are all great ways to combat stress and bring some relaxation to your routine at any time of year. With so many resources online, it would be impossible to say you cannot find a relaxation method that suits your needs and routine.
Have a great holiday
The most important tip I can provide is to have a great holiday. Whatever you celebrate and whoever you spend it with, make sure you're having a great time. Try to let loose and enjoy the hard work you have been putting in for weeks.
Spend time with those you love and take care of yourself. After all, it's not just your physical health that matters.
*All pictures are either created by myself or are labelled for reuse on Google Images*