Updated: Jan 15, 2021
Disclaimer: This blog post is proudly sponsored by Mindvalley, but all opinions are my own. Mindvalley is the largest online personal growth platform in the world. Choose from hundreds of personal growth programs and transformative content taught by brilliant minds, with results that stick. Mindvalley's mission is to create personal transformation that raises human consciousness. As a Mindvalley affiliate, we may receive compensation, if you purchase products or services through the links provided, at no extra cost to you. This helps support the running of the blog.
Christmas is possibly the most emotionally charged time of year. The emotions generated by Christmas and the turn of the year are varied and, often, contradictory. We feel everything from hope and joy to sadness and longing. There are many social and family gatherings that can make us both enjoy and reconnect with loved ones, although this year this will be somewhat muted. These same gatherings lead us to wonderful excesses, whether eating, drinking or staying up late. Other times, these gatherings remind us in a special way of people who are gone, whom we have missed so much the rest of the year.
All these intense emotions take place during a period of just two weeks. Although it can be very long for many people, for most, Christmas passes very quickly. For some it may be a relief to see that it is over; whilst for the others, they would have liked it to last another two weeks.
For many of us, the Christmas season is synonymous with the blues and is often associated with increased mental health risks. However, scientific studies show that Christmas is a more positive time than it seems and also for people with conduct disorders aka the blues.
It May Be The Safest Time Of Year
You may like it or you may be the Grinch, but the arrival of Christmas means change: leaving (or more accurately neglecting) the routine, meeting family or acquaintances, lunches, dinners, etc. Having so many events in a few days can be stressful and overwhelming, and is often considered an alert period for people with conduct disorder. However, scientific studies show that the Christmas holidays are not associated with an increase in these types of disorders.
A review published in 2011 in which various investigations related to this topic were analyzed concluded that the majority of behaviours and indicators associated with mental health problems (self-harm, alcoholism or medical interventions, among others) decreased during the Christmas period. Another study carried out in England between 1997 and 2012 has shown that the risk of suicide was also significantly lower during Christmas, especially among women. Although, the suicide rate after Christmas had increased, especially on New Year's Eve.
Don’t be a Grinch, Decorate Your House
More recent studies have also influenced this issue. One study found that people who put up Christmas decorations earlier were happier (it sounds weird, but the science checks out). And along the same lines, a study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology concluded that the decoration of the environment became, at that time, a communication tool that contributed to social cohesion with the guests.
Christmas, with its wacky, wondrousness, is considered a time of generosity and sincerity. Both children and adults find, in this time, a special essence. Therefore, the Christmas holidays are also a good opportunity to get together with family and friends. A study carried out concluded that older people considered an important factor to maintain and communicate wisdom and experience to future generations, children, nephews or grandchildren.
That Post Xmas Slump
Going back to work or school (or whatever it is that you wonderful people occupy your lives with) after two weeks of celebrations and lazing around the house (my favourite part) is hard for anyone. However, the return to the routine from the Christmas holidays is different from the return from the summer holidays.
We go back to work more eagerly after Christmas break than after summer break.
I don't know if it happens to you, but I see people going back to work after Christmas with more enthusiasm than after spending two weeks on the beach or travelling. So why?
Why Christmas Recharge Is The Best Recharge
Christmas coincides with the turn of the year. With each new year, we set goals and resolutions for ourselves (most of which last till February *sad face*). During Christmas, we usually indulge in the last whims before we start with those new promises, a last hoorah if you will. We feast heavily (oh so heavily, mmm), eat a lot of sweets, do less physical exercise, get up late… We end Christmas thinking: “Enough is enough. I'm going to start doing things right. " Guilt for all these excesses helps us prepare for a return to routine.
Sadly guilt is a shit motivator :(
How To Control Stress During Christmas
Large meetings: excess socialization, especially if it is not usual during the rest of the year, can produce feelings of overwhelm and pressure on people. In these cases, it is best to distance yourself from the group and relax with more solo activities: reading, listening to music, taking a long walk, etc.
Gifts: doubts, dissatisfaction, fear of failure (to give the bomb-est gifts) and economic instability produce feelings of frustration when buying gifts and enjoyment is lost. In these cases, it is recommended to rationalize thoughts, remember that gifts do not denote your worth and value the entirety of the festive period with your loved ones.
Meals: excess food can produce, in addition to physical discomfort, emotional discomfort, in as much as people may feel guilty for a poor diet or excessive spending. In these cases, the recommendation is to have control over the situation, both when shopping and when eating, enjoying the traditional foods of the season without excess (well try to show a little restrains - as much is possible during Christmas anyway)
Experiencing emotions is part of human nature, whatever time it is. However, what makes Christmas stand out is the expectations that we give it and the pressures that we sadly place upon ourselves.
To enjoy the holidays, let's work on a positive attitude, doing what makes us happy, even if it is not what is established, let's move away from obligations and pressures, let's be empathetic, avoid issues that generate conflict, and maintain the enthusiasm that we set ourselves in our goals for the rest of the year.
This blog post is proudly sponsored by Mindvalley, but all opinions are my own. Mindvalley is the largest online personal growth platform in the world. Choose from hundreds of personal growth programs and transformative content taught by brilliant minds, with results that stick. Mindvalley's mission is to create personal transformation that raises human consciousness. As a Mindvalley affiliate, we may receive compensation, if you purchase products or services through the links provided, at no extra cost to you. This helps support the running of the blog.