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How to manage your mental health over the strange Christmas and New Year gap

How to manage your mental health over the strange Christmas and New Year gap

While there are wonderful parts of Christmas- friends, family, gifts, food, decorations- it’s a pretty intense time.  The break in routine, the cold weather, and the dark nights can mean people with mental health concerns struggle.

There’s an expectation that this time of year is supposed to be “perfect” and you should be constantly making special memories with loved ones. In reality, simply spending a lot of time with other people can lead to burn out and exhaustion.

If you're someone who finds the festive period tricky then you are absolutely not alone.

Money pressures, the sheer number of tasks to complete, the constant appearance of Christmas joy on social media- it’s overwhelming. The exact reasons you find Christmas and New Year’s Eve hard might be personal to you, but there are things you can do to make it all more relaxing, more calm, and more fun.

Slow down and relax: mindful Christmas crafting.

As Christmas approaches you might feel the urge to speed up. To race through the to do lists, to shop, and cook, and wrap, and decorate, and do. There’s so much to get done by the 25th of December that you might be tempted to ignore your tiredness, or to simply not notice that you’re getting irritable, low, or not yourself.

Planning in a Christmas craft activity could be exactly what you need.

Whether you’re recovering from the stress of Christmas or preparing yourself before the big day, you can take steps to rebalance your mood. Take some time in a cosy place, perhaps under a blanket, with your favourite drink at hand, and get creative.

Embroidery is a mindful, calming craft. This Vase of Flowers embroidery kit, for example, is colourful and detailed enough to keep your hands busy and let your mind rest. The calming pastel greens and pinks are super soothing, and you get to try out a few different stitches. In fact, any of the embroidery kits would work so well.

The vibrant and cheerful Plant Lady Embroidery Kit is a bestseller and the bright oranges, blues, greens and yellows make it an eye-catching and fun piece.

It’s the perfect antidote for the hustle and bustle of Christmas.

Plant lady embroidery kit

Support your mental health with a sense of achievement

If you’re feeling swamped by the weight of Christmas and New Year, it can be easy for negative self- talk to creep in. Especially if you’re prone to ‘comparisonitis’ when seeing everyone’s fairy tale Christmases on social media. “I should have done XYZ better”, “why am I so XYZ, I should be more like blah blah". 

It’s a common symptom of lots of mental health conditions to have feelings of despondency, worthlessness, and failure, even when you are in fact important, loved, and wonderful.

So, what better than to prove that negative voice completely wrong? You’ll start something, you’ll try your best, and you’ll finish it. You’ll have physical proof of your achievement and your skills.  Something like the Cactus Embroidery Kit is perfect because it's suitable for beginners, and really fun. The gentle greens and natural imagery are instantly relaxing, but the little pops of orange keep it cheerful and bright.

While you’re crafting your mind is occupied, your hands are busy, and you get a natural hit of dopamine. That negative voice is quiet.

You can take your crafting mental health boost one step further by getting outside with your embroidery. Each embroidery kit is small enough to pop into your bag as you meet up with a friend to craft, join a local crafting club, or perhaps find somewhere else where you enjoy crafting. 

Cactus embroidery kit by Go with the sew

Self care day: take some time for you.

The time between Boxing day and the 2nd of January can feel extra strange. There’s no set routine, loads of leftovers, some businesses are open and some are closed… it’s difficult to navigate.

This could be the perfect time for you to put aside an afternoon all for yourself. Light a beautifully scented candle, find your cosiest blanket, put on a movie which comforts you, and relax. Settle down to do some crafting for the sheer joy of it.

Self care is not a luxury, and it’s not silly. It’s essential.

A bit of crafting could be exactly what you need to rebalance after the busy Christmas period.  You might be up for an intermediate level challenge with the Hanging Basket Embroidery Kit. You’ll be able to enjoy it over a few days, getting to grips with the different stitches and watching as the picture emerges on the canvas. The lovely blue of the pot contrasts so nicely with the lush green leaves of the plant. You’ll love to create it and look at it in your home.

Alternatively, you might want to start and complete something in one wintery afternoon. In this case the “Everybody should be nice” kit is the best. It’s one stitch pattern- the back stitch- which is soothingly repetitive. You’ll create some fluid calligraphy which spells out “I think everybody should be nice to everybody”. The finished hoop has real impact, but it’s super satisfying and easy to complete in just a few hours.

Embroidery isn’t something you can rush, so you’re sort of forced to take things slowly. You don’t have to make creative decisions or question if what you’re making is good, or bad, or right, or wrong. You’re simply “going with the sew".

I think everybody should be nice embroidery kit by Go with the sew

Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) by making your space beautiful.

A super common winter mental health condition is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

The NHS explains it’s a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. SAD is sometimes known as "winter depression" because the symptoms are usually more apparent and more severe during the winter."

As well as medication from a GP, there are lots of devices and vitamins which can help. Depending on the severity of your condition you might find daylight lamps, therapy, vitamin D supplements, and/ or crafting make a positive impact on symptoms.

Embroidery works on two levels.

Firstly, you’re keeping your mind and hands busy meaning you can enjoy some escapism from the symptoms of SAD. Secondly, you’re creating beautiful embroidery to decorate your home.

Once you’ve completed your embroidery kit, you have a colourful and detailed work of art to brighten your home. A space filled with things you love, things which you’re proud of, things you’ve created yourself might just be an environment which makes you smile. In the depths of winter anything which cheers you up is worth it.

Go With The Sew is a sustainable embroidery craft kit small business which puts mental health and self- care at the heart of everything we do.

This SEO- friendly blog was written by Bonnie Harrington, a Bristol- based copywriter and content writer for creative, sustainable, and independent small businesses. If you’d like a blog just like this for your business, get in touch here

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