27th December 2023
As we enter into the period between Christmas Day and New Year, for those who are out of our usual routines, it can be all too easy to fall into a slump, feel our energy levels crash, and experience low mood as a result.
Whether you celebrated Christmas or not, spent the day working, with loved ones, or alone, anyone can feel that their wellbeing takes a dip during this week. That’s why it’s more important than ever to make some time for self-care, in whatever way we can, to try to protect our mental health.
The five ways to better wellbeing can be a great way to do this. Whether you take one a day, try to tick off all five each day, or simply pick one whenever you start to feel a bit down, here are some suggestions to give a shot.
It can be easy to assume that everyone is busy seeing friends and family over this time, but if you’re feeling a bit lonely, it’s unlikely you’re the only one! Reach out to friends and suggest meeting up or having a chat over the phone.
Technology can be a great asset here – there are lots of online games or activities you can do with others, even if they aren’t nearby. Or if you prefer the traditional approach, why not use this time to write to someone you haven’t been in touch with for a while?
This one can certainly be tough at this time of year, especially if the weather is bad. But if you can, getting out for some fresh air and a walk really can do wonders for our mental health.
And if not, how about some yoga or gentle stretching indoors? There are loads of options to give you ideas for a simple home workout on YouTube. Even a bit of light housework can get you moving and make you feel good about yourself.
Slowing down and taking time to appreciate the small things is so important. As we come to end of the year, why not make a list of your favourite moments from the past 12 months, or reflect on what you’ve achieved? It doesn’t need to be anything big, perhaps you’ve taken a step towards achieving a goal, or finally done something you had been putting off.
When you’re out of the house, try to check in with all of your senses, one at a time. What can you see, smell, taste, touch, and hear? Meditation can also be a useful way to stop and mindfully take notice of how your body feels.
You’re never too old to learn something new, and the good news is, there are lots of options that allow you to do this from the comfort of your sofa, if that’s what you need right now.
Check out that interesting documentary you’ve been meaning to watch, or learn a new craft, like knitting or origami. You can also use this time to set a learning intention for the year by signing up to a new class or researching something you would like to learn next year. Or there’s plenty of free learning out there that you can get started on right away!
Giving feels good, and sometimes it can give us that all important little boost that we need.
If you find yourself with some extra time at this time of year, why not volunteer in your local community? There are lots of ways you can help out, and some of these can be done online if that suits you better. Check out Volunteer Scotland for more.
You could also have a clear-out of things you don’t need any more and give them in to charity; or do a favour for a neighbour or friend.
While the five ways to better wellbeing can be a helpful for some, if you find that you’re really struggling over this period, do reach out for help. The Samaritans are always there to listen if that’s what you need, or visit www.samh.org.uk/find-help to access other sources of support.