Christmas and New Year is a merry time for many of us, however, we must be mindful that not everyone has the budget to go crazy and spend their hard-earned cash on socialising and trying to keep up with the Joneses, especially as we all face the current cost of living crisis.
According to Skipton Building Society1, the mental health of 30% of Britons declines over the festive period with ‘financial pressures, the thought of having to entertain guests and keeping others happy’ all playing their part.
Self-care is needed to cope with December and all it inevitably brings, as it can be an overwhelming and stressful time. Office drinks and parties are on the horizon, nights out with family and friends, and buying presents for your loved ones are just a few activities that can make the run up to Christmas a daunting period, not just financially. There is that fear of overindulging on booze, the turkey and trimmings (and those sneaky leftovers), the iced mince pies and all the sweet stuff consumed, and how it affects not just our waistlines, but also the aftermath effects on our mental health and wellbeing.
By following some simple steps in the run up to the festive period you can protect your finances, your mental health and wellbeing.
- Take a moment to breathe. Taking time to slow down and reset will help to build some reserve in the tank. Book time off from work so you can focus on spending quality time with family and friends – even if it is just good old Netflix or a game of old school Monopoly.
- Give yourself permission to say ‘no’ and make conscious choices. No one wants to be a party pooper – we all want to have fun – however, compromising can pay off. Suggest alternatives more suited to your budget and lifestyle; instead of a night ‘out, out’ opt for a night ‘in, in’ and get together with friends at home, all bringing some food and drink.
- Spend your money on the things you need. Set a budget and stick to it to avoid overspending and ending up in debt. Take advantage of employer perks available to you such as shopping retail discounts, 50% off restaurants through TasteCard etc. where possible.
- Keep healthy by resting and getting enough sleep, hydrate and eat well. Switch off your mobile phone and try to stay off social media. Give yourself a break.
- Prioritise your wellbeing. Do the things you love to do when you have down time – get to the gym, do some yoga, go for a walk, take a bike ride – time in nature can make us feel more connected to the real world and less in our minds. Meditate, listen to mood boosting music, read that classic book, do some baking with your children.
- Take some time for reflection on your achievements throughout 2022 and where you want to make improvements or changes. Consider joining - or going back to - the gym in December to get ahead of everyone else and their New Year’s resolution. You may even be able to access generous gym discounts through your employer’s wellbeing offering – ask your employer. Make that conscious decision to start Dry January early, and refrain from drinking on New Year’s Eve (offer to be ‘Des’ for the evening) so you can start 2023 with a BANG! – but smugly with no thumping headache. Just a clear head, a clear mind and full of energy for the year ahead.
Show yourself some compassion and do what is right for you, for your bank balance, for your mind, body and soul. There’s only one you.
1 - https://mentalhealth-uk.org/blog/tis-the-season-3-in-10-brits-say-their-mental-health-nosedives-over-christmas/
This article was written by Jo Aitken, Employee Benefits Consultant.
All content is correct as of December 2022.