Christmas is one of the holidays that people from all around the world look forward to. It is a time for us to spend with our loved ones, exchange presents, indulge in good food, decorate our homes and watch good movies. However, it is not always a fun time for everyone. Our loved ones could be feeling overwhelmed or isolated during these festive seasons. What can we do for them?
 
Managing Expectations
We tend to have a lot of expectations on ourselves, whether it is for academics, career or even Christmas. We want to get the best presents for everyone, get a brand-new dress/suit so we look amazing and have the perfect looking pictures for Instagram. But putting in so much of effort to be perfect is actually time-consuming and uses up so much of energy (Clarke-Billings, 2019). How many times have we scrolled through social media and envied other people’s pictures because it all seems so perfect? It could be their matching outfits with each other (Thomas, 2019) or their perfectly laid out buffet table that makes us want to take a similar picture too. But, instead of pressurizing ourselves to have a neat table with perfectly laid out food and stopping the children from reaching out for the chocolates before taking the picture, let’s embrace the fun moments that may not be picture-perfect but has a lot of memories and laughter in it.
 
Taking Breaks
While festive seasons are fun, they can also be exhausting because of shopping, buying presents, wrapping them and cleaning the house. Not having enough sleep will affect our mood and mental health (Clarke-Billings, 2019). To avoid this, we need to plan our daily activities beforehand, so we stick to a routine. We should also focus on ourselves during this period by doing things such as having a nice cup of tea or going out for a walk to help decrease the pressure (Clarke-Billings, 2019). Although Christmas comes only once in a year, frequent outings in one month can be mentally daunting and affect our physical health as well. Learning to say no to friends when we are exhausted and choosing to have a nap instead is important (Beth, 2019).
 
Christmas Movies
Christmas movies, generally, have similar genres. It is about family and friends bonding with each other after a long period that includes a lot of laughter and happy endings. Christmas movies have positive effects on our brain because they help to release the hormones dopamine and oxytocin which help people to feel good. While dopamine causes a person to feel happy, oxytocin causes people to reach out to loved ones. As a result, social interaction increases positive emotions in an individual. However, an important part to note is that people generally watch these movies with their loved ones (Gutierrez, 2019). Hence, it is not only about the movie but about who you watch it with.
 
Christmas is a time to have fun with family and friends, but we need to remember that not everyone may be in the same mood. Some of us may be overwhelmed with the things we need to do or with work. Let’s be empathetic to others this festive season and provide a listening ear to anyone who have things to share. Let’s encourage people around us to watch movies together instead of being isolated with work and to-do lists and have a good time. Good times do not need to be perfect or expensive, they just need to have laughter.
 

References
Beth, S. (2019). This Holiday Season, I’m Being Honest With Myself About ‘Burn Out’. Retrieved from https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/holiday-season-im-being-honest-113251564.html.
 
Clarke-Billings, L. (2019). Top tips to look after your mental health and eliminate stress this Christmas. Retrieved from https://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/health/top-tips-look-after-your-20944202.
 
Gutierrez, L. (2019). Comfort and joy? Psychologists say Christmas movies can be good for mental health. Retrieved from https://www.kansascity.com/living/health-fitness/article237328479.html.
 
Thomas, F. (2019). What it’s really like having depression at Christmas. Retrieved from https://www.hellomagazine.com/healthandbeauty/health-and-fitness/2019112681124/depression-at-christmas-time/.