I’m fully aware it’s past “holiday season” but I feel what I’ve written about doesn’t just apply to Christmas and New Year. There are many holidays throughout the year. For anyone who struggles with mental health it can be a difficult time. Routines are pushed out of balance, holiday indulgencies such as alcohol and staying up late, socialising more which can become exhausting. It’s easy to forget about yourself with everything else happening.
Expectations run high of how things should go. It’s important to live in the moment, enjoy what’s happening, who you’re with and how far you’ve come. To be honest, just because the calendar tells us it’s a holiday doesn’t mean everything is going to be perfect. In fact, if something does go wrong it usually feels worse during these times in the year and hits people harder. I think also because holidays come around every year, it would be a recurrent reminder. After spending a year learning and growing I thought I would share a few things that helped me.
Social media is a huge part of our everyday lives, from uploading your morning coffee to Instagram or keeping in touch with family from around the globe. It is pretty easy to spend hours scrolling through other peoples’ lives, comparing them to our own. I feel this happens even more during holidays. There’s pressure to show the online world how wonderful a time you’re having, how well you get on with your family, all the amazing gifts you have received or given. Personally, I do feel a certain joy when sharing things on social media (I am writing a blog after all). But I am fully aware of the trap I get myself into when scrolling.
Having a good time and relaxing, what holidays are for, can sometimes get lost among having the house “presentable”, cooking and shopping when sometimes all you need is a day spent in pyjamas, watching a movie and drinking tea. Alone. Having a bath or a long shower is a great way to get some well needed quiet when things get too much. Bring a favourite drink (I would choose a glass of wine or cup of tea!), a good book, or even as my friend suggested bring your laptop and put some Netflix on. Maybe not suitable for the shower though… It can be easy to feel selfish or even guilty to say “I just need some space” but being brave and aware of what your body and mind needs is more important than forcing yourself to be involved in every minute.
The great thing for me this Christmas was being able to go back up to the Highlands. Being surrounded by so much nature is cleansing. I’m not sure if there is any scientific proof but I definitely feel the benefits of being near the sea. When I was growing up it was said that sea air would help a person get a good night’s sleep. Sleeping is definitely something I struggle with on a daily basis. I’m not sure if it was the sea air or the fact the internet was so bad I couldn’t spend hours on Buzzfeed but I saw a difference in my sleep pattern and my ability to get up earlier. Also, being able to go for a quiet walk, no traffic, hardly any buildings is wonderful. Living in a city finding quiet like this is near to impossible sometimes. This year I am going to spend some time discovering more nature in Edinburgh for those times I need to “get away”.
Candles have been a huge part of my winter this year, especially scented ones. As the days are shorter and darker it’s hard not to spend those dark hours curled up in bed and to find “light”. There’s something so satisfying about having a candle lit!
Laugh! Laughing is so good for us and easily achievable when surrounded by friends and family. For me it is anyway. Even just watching a comedy show/movie can really perk up someone’s mood. I have always been a fan of Russell Howard, I really enjoy his mix of comedy and heart-warming messages.
We are already 12 days into 2018 and I’ve been thinking about what’s to come. This will be my last year as a student nurse, and so hopefully the start of a new chapter outside of education. I have a list of bakes I want to try, so can’t wait to share those with you! Lots of exciting family events are coming up which I can’t wait to be a part of. I hope everyone has had a great 2018 so far, and those who haven’t, keep going. You’re worth it.