Mental Health is a journey (especially at Christmas)

The festive period is a good time to take stock of things. It is a moment where issues around one’s mental health come into clearer focus. It’s a time of year that comes with an inherent pressure to socialise and be merry. This in itself can be a source of stress. The need to be on top form for two weeks (to say nothing of the expectation to booze relentlessly) is a challenge when you might not be feeling at your best.

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‘Even this shall pass’

However, there is another way to rethink the festive period; to reconceptualise it as a way-point, and not as a destination. Christmas is bound to get you thinking about your mental well-being, your struggles, and your challenges, but you should only allow it to do this in a way that reinforces the progress you are already making or the achievability of steps you plan to take.

When it comes to mental health Christmas is not the end, it is not a time where you should evaluate your success against the (largely imagined) sense of collective merriment. Instead, it is a time where we should harness that inevitable sense of reflectiveness to tell ourselves that we are doing well, and to be proud that fact. Christmas is a period that we pass through, and our mental heath at that point is only as strong as one’s, very personal, circumstances allow. Don’t critise, judge, or admonish yourself: you are where you are, and no amount of tinsel, socks-bought-by-your-mean-auntie, or Turkey should define that point.

Christmas, despite the seeming of permanence that the 25th enforces, is ultimately transient. Don’t let it trick you into think anything other than that. The festive period is a turning, a point on a map, a quaint little village that you have to wander through. The destination is a well, happy, and positive you.

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