How to Cope with the Stresses of December

Whether you celebrate the festivities that come at this time of year, or December is just another month for you, it arrives all too quickly and it’s only natural that we can feel overwhelmed.

Whatever applies to you, maybe now is the time to start looking after (and indulging!) you …

So, let’s look at some simple well-being tips (which are more of a necessity than an indulgence, to be honest).

The NHS lay out five ways of managing our well-being, so we’ll explore them here:

  1. Connect with others – ‘connectedness’ is my favourite word. If you’ve met me in groups or courses, I’ve probably told you by now!  Whether you’re an introvert or more outgoing, it’s a fact that human beings are inherently social.  We wouldn’t have survived millions of years without each other!

If, and when, I feel my mood starting to drop, I deliberately start connecting with people – it could be a family member, a colleague, a friend or an acquaintance.  And it doesn’t have to be in person; one of the hidden benefits of lockdown is that we have become more resourceful in our communication methods.

It works for me, and is my go-to wellbeing activity.

  1. Be physically active. Exercise helps release positive hormones in our brain, making us feel a little bit better mentally.  Obviously, other benefits include physical fitness.

Again, if my mood starts to slip, the dogs get longer, or more frequent, walkies, so they’re not complaining either!

  1. Learn new skills. Learn anything you fancy – from knitting, to genealogy to rock-climbing, the sky’s the limit.  YouTube is also a fabulous tool to help you learn new things.  Alternatively, you could book a course with Kind Mind Community, as our new prospectus for 2022 will be out shortly.  Keep an eye on the website for updates!
  2. Give to others. This is another firm favourite of mine.  You don’t have to spend money to give.  Something I like to do is to say something positive to the cashier in the supermarket.  Telling them you like their top or their smile might be the only nice thing they hear all day.  Giving of your time is another great way of contributing; maybe you’d like to volunteer somewhere.  I also like to buy inexpensive gifts (most recent was a couple of packets of Jaffa Cake bars!) to give to people.  I can’t explain what it is about giving, but it works.
  3. Pay attention to the present. This could be a structured meditation, or mindfulness exercise.  It could be simpler than that.  For example, a couple of years ago, I decided to drive the ‘country way’ back from recovery college to see how many rhododendron bushes I could spot in bloom.  If that sounds a bit fancy, I also do the washing-up mindfully on occasions.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the brief digest of well-being tips – they help me to keep well.  And no, they may not work all the time (because I’m human!), but they seem to kickstart my mood

Oh and, by the way, my next blog is a simple way to explore all of these techniques in just 90 minutes!