Dare to say "no" is among the many things to keep in mind to ensure we look after our mental health during the hustle and bustle of the festive period.
Here's a festive season that many of us are excited about. How are you planning to spend the long weekend?
While many see holidays as a time for gatherings, celebrations, and even revelries, the holiday itself can also be a great source of stress and anxiety, indicated the City Mental Health Alliance Hong Kong (CMHA HK). The demands of large family gatherings, conflicting priorities, or amplified feelings of isolation and loneliness during the holiday season can all bring up difficult emotions for anyone.
After all, holidays should be about time to relax, refresh and recharge, so that we can sweep away negative energy and move forward with a more positive mindset. What's important is to be true to our own feelings and say "no" when necessary, and spend more time with someone we want to see as well as on something we want to do.
Keeping that in mind, CMHA HK has put together eight tips to help all of us look after our mental health during the hustle and bustle of the festive period. And so, we wish you a self-paced and carefree holiday ahead :)
1. The power of saying "no"
It may be tempting to agree to every social engagement and family obligation over the festive period, but over-stretching ourselves can leave us feeling frustrated, exhausted, and emotionally drained. Understand that you have the power to set boundaries and decide how you spend your time, how long you stay at social events, who you see, and who you invite to your own home.
2. Keep up healthy habits
Although we all love to indulge in a good feast once in a while, remember to keep up your healthy habits. Be mindful of your food and alcohol intake and try to include some healthy, wholesome meals whenever possible during this period. Make time for an exercise routine and move your body daily. This will enable you to release stress hormones and calm your mind.
3. Focus on what is within your control
Uncertainty is the only constant in life. If you are feeling overwhelmed by your to-do list or anxious about upcoming social engagements, take note of what is causing you this stress, identify the things that you can control and take small steps towards addressing them. Set aside things that are out of your control, and accept that you have the power to guide your thoughts and reactions towards those things.
4. Check in with how you feel
Just because it is the festive season, this does not mean that you should force yourself to be joyful and sociable. Remember, it is okay to not be okay. If you are going through a difficult time, whether it be processing grief or dealing with an illness, allow yourself to feel those challenging emotions and listen to your needs.
5. Carve out down time
Prioritise self-care activities and carve out down time for yourself – take a walk outside in nature, create something from scratch with your hands, listen to music that you love or read a good book – whatever it is that helps you to feel rejuvenated and re-energised.
6. Take a social media detox
With friends and contacts sharing snippets of their holidays abroad, elaborate parties, and intimate gatherings, social media can become an even more crowded place during this time. Try to disconnect from your screen as much as possible to minimise unnecessary noise and distraction, and focus on being in the present.
7. Connect with family and friends
For many of us, the holiday season is a time of gathering and togetherness. While some dynamics within family and friendship circles may be challenging to deal with, remember that these occasions are rare and make the most of the opportunity to meaningfully connect with family and friends.
8. Connect with the community
Many vulnerable communities in the city are exposed to increased feelings of isolation and loneliness during the festive season. Individuals experiencing homelessness and elderly people living alone are among those who need more connection and care during this time. Look out for any volunteer opportunities and organisations that resonate with you and get involved.
Images / Shutterstock