It’s Christmas Eve. We’re one more sleep from so many people’s favourite day of the year. A day supposedly full of warmth, sharing and care. However, for many of us it can be so much more than that. It can be a chance to breathe and recover the energy spent over the busy month so far. In this post I’m going to be covering the significance of holiday traditions, how they can be positive and negative, and then we will discuss different ways you can try to de-stress this Christmas Eve.
Holiday traditions are such a huge part of this time of year for so many individuals and families, and something many of us look forward too as we approach December. Though what we don’t realise is there are some traditions that leave us feeling quite low and actually end up damaging our mental health. If you live with family and one of the traditions is a big party with all of your extended family and friends of the family, whom you don’t have a good relationship with, this is something that will probably be extremely difficult for you, even more so if you suffer from Anxiety or Depression.
However, If the tradition or ritual you are performing is an intimate one for just yourself or maybe just with your partner or very close friends, which is something you genuinely look forward to each year, then it’s a sign of a positive tradition which will help you with your holiday stress. It’s very important that we have these positive rituals, not only to look forward to, but to increase our happiness levels and give us some time to relax. So without any further ado, here is my list of 7 self-care activities you can practice this Christmas Eve to reduce your anxiety levels and make you feel revitalised.
Have a Final Pre-Holiday Workout or Meditate:
Go for a long walk, a run, work out at home or even at your gym if it’s open. Be it cardio, weightlifting or more spiritually centred workouts such as yoga or meditation, getting in some exercise on Christmas eve can allow us to not only feel good about ourselves both physically and emotionally, it can also rid us of some of the extremely common holiday guilt with regards to snacking on sweet treats and indulging. Which coincidentally brings us to number two on our list.
Treat Yourself to a Favourite Meal or Snacks:
It’s Christmas after all. As I mentioned above so many of us can feel guilty when we eat unhealthily or overindulge a little over the holidays, but it’s nothing to be ashamed off. However, if you’re overindulging to the point of hurting your physical or mental health you should keep track of this and adjust, but there certainly isn’t anything wrong with having a takeaway on Christmas Eve or having a specific ‘cheat meal’ you’ve wanted for a while. I for one will be enjoying a hot chocolate and some biscuits before I head off to my bed tonight. Tis the season…
Visit Your Family and Friends:
This one is for those of you who enjoy spending time with others over the holidays. It’s totally fine if that’s not you but meeting up with a friend or some family on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day to exchange gifts and catch-up can help us feel less lonely, give us a level of social interaction which could improve our mood, and also allow us to feel like we aren’t being a humbug. Even if this is just a socially distanced meetup over zoom etc, given the current climate, then it’s worthwhile to consider. To be clear, it’s possible to not socialise and still not be a humbug, but so many of us feel an almost expectation to socialise over the holidays, so taking your time to decide the right people to positively spend some time with can be very beneficial to your mental health. Whilst you’re visiting you could even partake in some our next self-care tips.
Have a Board Game Night:
Whilst round in your friends or families, or having them round to your place, perhaps a good way to spend some nice time in a fun way would be to suggest playing some board games. Even if it’s just some silly games you have laying around the house or something you enjoy but never get the time to play, it can be enjoyable and entertaining but also in some cases give us a little mental and social stimulation. If you have kids, get them in on the fun too. The more the merrier. It wouldn’t be right to suggest this without one warning however: Have fun and don’t take things too seriously. Avoid super competitive games and look for more silly party games to pass the evening.
Watch a Christmas Movie:
As you can probably tell from my most recent post on this blog, I enjoy the occasional Christmas film and am a big fan of movies in general. I believe they are a great form of self-care and can be used to benefit us in many therapeutic ways. So be it alone in your home, or visiting friends or family, one sure fire way to de-stress over the holidays is to watch a Christmas movie. Doesn’t matter if it’s background watching while you and your friends gossip and eat some snacks, or paying attention and laughing along to the likes of Home Alone or Elf, studies have shown that these movies give us a boost in dopamine levels which we all could use to help us feel better.
Have a No-Screen Day:
This one takes us back to the more personally centred self-care activities. A No-Screen day is exactly what it says on the tin; a day where we try our best to have no contact with screens, be they our phone, laptop, television or anything of that sort. I know that it wouldn’t be possible for everyone to have a full day of no screens as some of us have to work on Christmas eve or be in contact with friends and family about plans we’ve made, but when it is possible taking time away from your screen can be very beneficial.
Even just a few hours away from your screens free up so much time for us (you’d be surprised how long a lot of us scroll endlessly through social media). Use that time to do something you really want to, or something you really enjoy and haven’t had much time for recently.
Partake in a Self-Care Spa Night:
See if any of these rings a bell with you: It’s Christmas Eve, you’ve just been on your feet for the past 23 days straight sorting gifts, working more intensely at work, trying to fulfil all of your holiday social plans. You’re drained. You’re exhausted. You’re ready to sleep for 18 hours straight. It’s so common for us to feel just completely worn out by the time we get to Christmas Eve. December is a busy month after all. What better way to spend your time than treating your self to a self-care spa night?
Light some nice, scented candles, pour yourself a warm bubble bath, put on the facemask you’ve been meaning to, play your favourite music, pour yourself a drink you enjoy, relax… Just take some time to soak in your peaceful bliss before you snap back to reality after the Christmas break. Hell, it doesn’t even need to be a spa night in the traditional sense. If baths aren’t your thing, that’s totally fine too. Get a hot shower, put on your new Pyjamas (essential on Christmas Eve) and spend some time curled up in bed reading a book or watching a nice movie. As long as this time gives you the feeling of relaxation as though you’re in a spa, then it qualifies in my eyes.
Even if you only find the time to try one of these, I hope they bring you as much peace as they do for me each Christmas Eve. I want to take this time to wish all of you reading a very peaceful Christmas full of warmth, love, and positive mental health.
If you’ve read this far, why not take a moment to share some of your Christmas Eve traditions that could help others relax in the comments below? Or share this article to someone who could use a little self-care encouragement. If you’re experiencing any of the feelings described in this post such as depression or anxiety, or know somebody who is, then there are many things you can do to help. Talking to somebody about how you or they are feeling can be very beneficial. If you’re not sure what to do but need urgent help, there are many emergency hotlines that provide support and encouragement such as Mind.org and Samaritans.org. You’re not alone in feeling this way, others are there to help.