Lincolnshire

Nick Harwood: Maybe it’s time to be a bit selfish this Christmas

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With Christmas on the horizon and all the stress of buying the right gifts for friends and family, planning your Christmas lunch and trying to stay on top of the usual work commitments, it’s easy to put yourself under so much pressure that when the day actually arrives it doesn’t feel festive or pleasurable at all.

Christmas can be highly stressful so it’s important to look after yourself and your mental wellbeing during the festive period.

The vision of a perfect Christmas that the media try to instil in us, with family sharing an elaborate meal in the comfort of a stylishly decorated house and the heat of the wood burner warming the room, can make us all strive for an unachievable perfection.

It’s great if your Christmas is perfect, but make it your own version of perfect – the version that suits you and people you’ll be with on the day. Remember that you don’t have to do everything yourself and involving family members may make it more fun. Sometimes ‘good enough’ really is good enough; although my wife may disagree here when it comes to decorating the Christmas tree and setting the table.

So while you are striving for perfection keep repeating in your head this mantra: “it’s not my job to make everyone happy”, because in the pursuit to cause the happiness of others you may actually lose out on your own in the end.

When planning what you need to do in the build up to the big day, make sure that you set aside some time for yourself when you can restore your energy and recharge your batteries. Be a bit selfish, because if you’re stressed, run down or fed up, your loved ones will definitely not have the Christmas you’d like them to remember.

I know mindfulness seems to be the new buzzword but it really is a great way to reduce stress levels, alleviate anxiety and improve low mood that you may be experiencing during the festive season. Try to find some time to relax and be in the moment.

Achieving mindfulness doesn’t have to be complicated, so if you want to have a go you can use one of the podcasts recorded by the steps2change talking therapies service which is run by Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LPFT). Our free podcasts are available to listen to and download from LPFT’s SoundCloud channel.

So be a little bit “selfish” this festive period, think about your own mental health, be mindful and take a break.

Christmas is the time of giving, so this year give a little something back to yourself.