Hello! Lily-Jo here again. I can’t quite believe it’s already November!
As a busy mum of 2 with a big extended family, the thought of the holidays creeping in can feel quite exhausting and overwhelming.
So as the holiday season approaches, I’ll be sharing a few thoughts on how we can protect and nurture our well-being in the runup to Christmas – using the H.O.L.I.D.A.Y. acronym.
Prioritising your mental health around Christmas using the H.O.L.I.D.A.Y. acronym
H – Healthy eating
The holiday season is full of parties, events, big dinners, buffets, and snacks. And if you are particularly anxious or stressed about certain events, this can lead to emotional eating.
To combat this, I recommend asking yourself a few simple questions like:
- Am I eating for emotional reasons?
- Or am I eating because I am physically hungry?
If it’s for the latter reason – of course, go for it with as best a choice for nutrition as possible. However, if you feel like you are eating for emotional reasons, take a moment to think through what’s happening. Take a bathroom break to figure out how you are feeling.
You could also plan ahead as to what to pick off the menu, or how many alcoholic drinks your limit will be at an event. Thinking these things through in advance can set you up to win and stay on track.
Apps like My Fitness Pal and Drinkaware can also help you to stay accountable – so that you can avoid having to do a huge detox in January when we are still in the thick of winter (and when salads are the last thing we want to consume!).
O – Organise your time
There are so many fun things to do around the holidays – but it’s unrealistic to expect yourself to make it to everything!
What works for me is to start planning early. You can do this by creating a schedule for the holidays in advance so that you can prioritise activities and events that you are comfortable with. Being organised with your time will allow you freedom to enjoy the present moment, which leads to my next thought…
L – Live in the moment
When we live in the moment, we are able to take control of our anxiety. Try not to worry about upcoming commitments too far in advance – do the prep, but also take time to enjoy the moment!
Indulge in all your favourite festive hot drinks, write in your journal, be kind and say thank you, and don’t forget to do all of those cosy activities that you enjoy! These are the activities that make the Christmas season so special.
I – Imperfection is okay
Comparison really is the thief of joy. Your home does not need to look like the McCallister’s in Home Alone…covered in perfect lights with multiple Christmas trees!
You do your holiday season exactly how you want to. Accept that if things go wrong (aka your oven breaks or you burn the veggies) it’s okay! We are human, we are prone to making mistakes.
Imperfection has character and gives you a story to laugh about in the future!
D – Delegate
I like to host my family on Christmas day, but it’s unrealistic to think that I can do it all. So I delegate, and we share the load.
Mum brings the Turkey, brother usually brings the desserts, and we divide up the veg. There is something really special about mucking in together and producing a delicious afternoon.
Never forget that it’s okay to ask for help!
A – Account
The holidays can definitely put a strain on your finances – but nobody wants to be in debt in January!
Being as proactive as possible with your holiday budget is the best way to stay on top of your holiday spending. This can look like creating a spreadsheet, making a plan, and sticking to it! If gifts need to be homemade, second hand, or limited to one gift through a secret santa, that’s ok. Give yourself permission to only do what you can afford.
Y – Yourself
Spending so much time with others around the holidays can be overstimulating, so it’s important to also take time for yourself!
Personally, I do this by building in check-ins where I can excuse myself to a quiet place – whether that’s out at a restaurant or in a family member’s home – and taking some deep breaths. This really helps me reset so that I can go back and enjoy the festivities with my family and friends.
Remember – if you are really struggling with your mental health over the holidays season, it’s best to seek help sooner rather than later.
If you are looking for regular 1-1 counselling, you can always reach out to me at email@example.com.
If you are in crisis and need immediate support, there are a number of different helplines available here in the UK:
- National Suicide Prevention Helpline UK
- Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)
- The Mix
You can also always explore our self-help resource here at The Lily-Jo Project, which features top tips, personal stories, and practical advice for maintaining good mental health.
Special Event: Free Meditation Session
To help you prepare for the season ahead, I will be hosting a meditation session on Tuesday 5th December, 1-2pm over Zoom.
This event is completely free to join – REGISTER HERE.
Can’t wait to see you there!
About the Author: Lily-Jo
Lily-Jo is a qualified mental health counsellor, counselling supervisor, and senior coach at Unstoppable Life Coaching. She is also the founder of mental health organisation, The Lily-Jo Project, which is a platform devoted to using the power of music to educate, equip,
and empower people of all ages to take control of their mental health.