9 ways to look after your mental health during the silly season

19 November 2018

The festive or ‘silly’ season can be a wonderful time to recharge from the work year, celebrate with friends and family, and prepare for the year ahead. But for many Australians, it can also be a time that is met with increased levels of stress, anxiety and loneliness. It’s important that we all give a little extra care to our mental health and wellbeing during this time of year, as well as caring for those around us if we can. We’ve listed nine of our top tips below to help you through this silly season.

 

 

SuperFriend’s top tips for the festive season
Talk about how you feel with friends and family
If you’re feeling a little more stressed or anxious than normal, reach out to your friends and family.
If something is on your mind, whether it’s related to work, family or otherwise, sharing and being listened to can help create feelings of being supported. Sharing your experiences can also work two ways and encourage others to share their feelings with you, too.
The festive season can also be a great opportunity to reconnect with a card, email or phone call if you’re feeling out of touch with others.
Do something mindful
Sometimes taking ten minutes to be mindful is all it takes to improve our wellbeing. Try writing down three things that you’re grateful for, a few minutes to colour while clearing your mind, a walk in nature, or sitting mindfully in a quiet space listening to some music. Doing one mindful or enjoyable thing each day can help us coast a little more smoothly through the stress of the season. The little moments add up to big things!
Eat well and exercise
What better excuse than the festive season to overindulge? A little bit of overindulgence can be a great thing but it can have a big impact on how we feel, so try to balance it out over the period. Where possible, eat in a way that makes you feel good. Keeping up with your regular exercise routine and taking advantage of the warmer weather to get outside can also help to reduce stress.
Make time for sleep
According to SuperFriend’s 2018 Indicators of a Thriving Workplace Survey, 22% of Australian workers surveyed experience work-related insomnia, which can affect every element of life – not just the ability to concentrate at work. This is particularly relevant in the 35-44 age group (26%), and even more so for those experiencing a mental health condition (33%). Consider whether sleep is a problem for you during the holidays and try to build your day around having a restful night by eating well, doing some light exercise, and creating a relaxing routine before bedtime, without technology. If you are experiencing ongoing issues, speak to your GP.
Plan some down time
Look at your diary and plan some down time. Be realistic about what you can and can’t do, and be kind to yourself. You can’t do it all! Consider whether there is anything you can allocate to January – like catch ups with friends or any engagements that you don’t need to attend – that can free up time (and mental energy) in your calendar. This also includes less urgent work tasks that can be picked up in the new year.
Give to others
Giving to and caring for others is a known way to improve mental health during the festive season. Whether it’s volunteering for the less fortunate, baking for a friend or colleague, or another act of kindness, it can be a deeply rewarding way to spend time and will undoubtedly lift the spirit of others.
Care for those around you
The festive season can be difficult for someone who has recently experienced grief or loss and they may appreciate extra efforts to be included in events. If you know someone who is struggling with poor mental health that will be alone during the holidays, think about inviting them to join you for celebrations or see if you can organise another time to visit.
Take some time to reflect
Take some time to reflect on all the good things that have happened this year and appreciate what you have achieved and what went well – there is likely to be a lot! The end of the year is also a great time to set intentions for the upcoming year and reflect on new ways we can look after ourselves.
Find help when you need it
If you need a helping hand, we encourage you to reach out. There are many support services available to you this holiday season:
Your GP
Lifeline |  13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service | 1300 659 467
Beyond Blue | 1300 22 4636
If life is in danger, please call | 000