12 Days of Christmas Calm

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Psychology student Rosie shares her tips for wellbeing over the festive period:

As we fast approach the end of term, Christmas is rapidly on the way. But even with all the festivities going on, it’s important to remember that your wellbeing still takes priority – no matter what time of year. In films, Christmas time is called ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ but it’s okay if you don’t feel that way. Taking care of your mental health doesn’t simply stop because it’s Christmas.

I’ve created a list of 12 festive things to boost wellbeing that you could try out this Christmas period. These are short, easy ways to enjoy the festivities, without putting too much pressure on yourself.

I call it ‘The 12 Days of Christmas Calm’…

  1. Find enjoyment in the wintery climate. We know December can be cold, dark, and snowy but that in itself can be quite beautiful. Take some moments to appreciate the environment if it’s looking out your window, going on a walk or taking some pictures outdoors.
  2. Christmas hot drinks. This is one of my favourite things about the Christmas period. Lots of coffee shops will do festive specials like hot chocolates, gingerbread or spiced lattes. They are warming, delicious and tasty. You could also have a go at making them at home too.
  3. Get cosy. It’s miserable feeling the cold and it can be even harder when you’re trying to keep bills low. Make sure to bundle up in fluffy socks, jumpers and blankets around the house, and try keeping a hot water bottle at night to keep you warm for longer.
  4. As students of Bath, most of us are familiar with the Bath Christmas markets, but there’s also lots in other towns and cities across the UK. Visiting a market can be a nice way to feel integrated in your community and get into the Christmas spirit.
  5. Christmas films. You know the classics – Love Actually, The Holiday, Elf. Those feel-good and funny films can be a great way to lift your mood. Especially if you want to watch with friends or family and have a movie night.
  6. Spend time walking. Just 10 minutes of walking outside helps to boost our energy, mood and mental alertness. Though the days are getting much shorter, there’s always time to go for a little stroll outside.
  7. Stay connected. Christmas is a great opportunity to reconnect and catch-up with family and friends. This might be in-person or even on the phone or FaceTime. I’ve often had family members away abroad during Christmas, so I always find that it’s a nice time to reconnect with those you care about and let them know you’re thinking of them.
  8. Give more to others. It feels good receiving presents at Christmas, but often it feels even better giving to others. In doing something kind or thoughtful for someone else, it can give us a real sense of fulfilment and warmth. It doesn’t have to be gifts either – just giving more hugs, more time, more smiles to others goes a long way.
  9. Christmas food. Pigs in blankets, stuffing, turkey, mince pies – what’s not to enjoy. There are so many delicious places to eat in Bath, but you can save money making festive food at home too.
  10. Make a gingerbread house. Keeping on the food theme, constructing a gingerbread house can be a lot of fun. If you’re a real master you could try making the dough yourself, but it’s most probably easier to buy. Every year I make gingerbread houses with my grandma, and it always brings me so much joy.
  11. Reflect on your year. Find time to think back about on the things you’ve enjoyed, the things you’ve overcome and things you’ve achieved. It doesn’t matter if they are big or small but take the time to appreciate and reflect on your year.
  12. Check your expectations. Remember to keep in mind that Christmas will look different for everyone, and that’s okay. People have different beliefs, views and traditions. Some people love Christmas and others don’t. When there’s a lot of pressure and expectation about Christmas, it’s important to keep things realistic.

Take the time to take care of yourself over the festive period. If Christmas is a more tricky time for you, remember you are never alone and there is support out there if you need it.

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