For a lot of us, the last few months of the year tend to be the most stressful. It does not matter whether you celebrate the Holidays or not, whether your family is big or small and what your relationship with them is, and whether you are studying or working. The days get shorter and darker, and the weather gets significantly colder, leaving us wanting to do nothing else but stay in bed, and often making us feel low and exhausted.
It is important to implement a little bit more self-care than usual during the winter months and be gentle with yourself. It is easy to fall into a frantic state of mind trying to get everything done before the year ends and to become overwhelmed with working extra hours and socialising.
Stress can impact not only our mental health but also contribute to physical health problems.
Taking some time each day for short self-care breaks can really make a difference. Create a self-care schedule and try your best to stick to it. Taking a hot morning shower and eating a wholesome breakfast, taking a walk on your lunch break (or, if it’s too cold, spending some time listening to music while concentrating on your breathing), and making sure to wind down before going to sleep (limiting the use of social media and journaling or reading) in the evening can all contribute to a more relaxed mindset.
Avoid comparing yourself to other people. It is something much easier said than done, especially when surrounded by near-enough inescapable consumer advertising. Limiting the use of social media around the Holiday period can help us focus on ourselves and appreciate our individuality and what we already have!
It is easy to fall into a pattern of missing on sleep and not catching up with it afterwards, especially when attending a lot of social gatherings. Try to get at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. If you struggle with insomnia, make your sleeping environment as comfortable as possible. Even if you cannot quite get more than a couple of hours of sleep, such an environment will help you to relax.
Keep your alcohol intake in moderation. If you are a student, it is easy to feel pressured into drinking quite a lot, especially on nights out. It is not a good idea to drink too much too often, as it can not only lead to horrible hangovers but also increases depression and can cause us to become irritable and aggressive.
Keep a planner and get organised! Alternatively, use your phone, and productivity apps such as Evernote, Wunderlist, or Trello, all of which are available on iOS and Android. Keeping track of important dates, deadlines, and to-do lists can really help to keep on top of everything that has to be done by the end of the year.
Most importantly, spend time and talk to with those you love and can be completely and unapologetically yourself around. Surrounding ourselves with people who support and understand us, and our needs can benefit us greatly, as nobody can strive without love and kindness.