How to Beat the Christmas Blues

It’s the Christmas season; a time for cheer and joy at the end of 2021, as well as celebrating the new beginnings of 2022. End of year celebrations can be a very special time for getting together with loved ones and building lifelong memories, however, the heightened anxiety around chaotic shopping, feelings of loss and loneliness, and catering to everyone’s food desires, may not be so calm and bright. Ascent Rehabilitation is reminding everyone to help prevent the Christmas blues this year by taking the time to focus on you and your health. Here are a few ways to beat this year’s Christmas blues just in time for the season.

Many people imagine what their ‘perfect Christmas’ is, and more often than not, that dream is typically a vision rather than a reality. When you can’t create this ‘perfect Christmas’ vision, you may feel dissatisfied, or upset that this isn’t the Christmas reality you longed for. It’s okay to feel disappointed that the Christmas vision you had may not be attainable, or that the Christmas season isn’t as perfect as you expected. Instead of envisioning delicious pavlova and beachy white sands for the perfect Christmas swim, focus on becoming honest with yourself and create a real, achievable Christmas by setting attainable goals. Remember to be kind to yourself when setting those goals, such as aiming for two enjoyable Christmas lunch courses, instead of cooking an elaborate six-course meal. Recognise that you don’t have to feel the responsibility of buying everyone a present. Instead, only buy presents for your important loved ones, or organise a secret Santa. Be mindful to pace yourself by sticking to your budget, rather than overloading your wallet and potentially creating New Year’s debt. Lastly, remember to rest; it is equally your Christmas break to enjoy as much as it is for everyone else.

Many aspects make up the spirit of Christmas, such as giving, hope, love, and goodwill towards all, but what about goodwill towards you? It has been a tough year for many in 2021, so take the opportunity this Christmas to make yourself feel better by treating yourself. Think of something you want, or something you want to do for yourself, such as enjoying a relaxing massage, buying yourself that shirt you’ve been wanting, or eating your favourite meal from the local Chinese restaurant. Whatever you choose to do, it doesn’t have to be costly. The point around treating yourself is that although hard times may be happening, that we are allowed to enjoy the things in our lives that bring us joy. This will not necessarily mean that the hard times disappear, but it will make you feel the joy you may need to continue moving forward during the Christmas season.

One of the best ways to celebrate Christmas cheer is by going beyond our own physical and emotional selves by giving to others. By offering help to others, it can distract you from what’s happening around you or bring a different perspective, which can allow you to participate in a meaningful activity. There are many ways to give to others this Christmas season. Think about your loved ones or local charities that may need extra support this Christmas. Giving to others in need not only has an impact on someone who may be struggling this Christmas, but is especially rewarding for the giver. One great way to give this Christmas season is by giving to The Salvation Army Gift Appeal. Last Christmas, The Salvation Army provided more than 26,000 gifts to families across Australia. This year, they aim to give more. Simply Giving has partnered with The Salvation Army to fundraise and donate toys to children in need all around Australia. Through Simply Giving, you can choose from a range of toys to donate to a child in your area. Your gift may be small, but the thought will make the biggest difference.

There’s no better way to spend the Christmas season than by sitting down with your loved ones on the couch and watching a Christmas movie. According to Behavioural Scientist, Pamela Rutledge: “the human brain loves patterns, and the predictability is cognitively rewarding. Those predictable (Christmas) story arcs offer comfort by presenting life as simple and moralistic.” Additionally, watching a Christmas movie can even help boost our feelings of happiness, as it has been shown to trigger dopamine, the happy hormone. Christmas movies have a familiar nostalgia that can make you feel joyful, whether you’re watching the latest Netflix Christmas movie, or a more classic Christmas movie such as Elf, Miracle on 34th Street, It’s a Wonderful Life or The Grinch. A Christmas movie may bring needed Christmas cheer that may help reduce the level of stress and anxiety that the Christmas season can bring. Not only is a Christmas movie a great way to spend time with your loved ones this Christmas season, it’s also a fun way to enjoy and relax during your holiday break.

Christmas is the season to be joyful and merry. Although Christmas this year may bring trials and tribulations, try to not let the Christmas blues dampen your Christmas spirit. We tend to put a lot of effort into looking after our loved ones at Christmas, but it’s important not to overlook finding the time to prioritise your own Christmas joy this year. It’s important to remember the true meaning of Christmas, and to make this an enjoyable time for you and your loved ones to look back on and fondly remember. From the team at Ascent Rehabilitation, we wish you all a Merry Christmas, and a safe and happy New Year for 2022.

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