The Heady Mix of Christmas, Mental Health and Body Image.December 20, 2021
We are fortunate to be living in an age when mental wellbeing is a well discussed topic amongst much of the population. Long gone are the days when any mention of mental health was considered a taboo subject, or singled you out as being a little bit on the emotionally weak side. Thankfully it is becoming more usual to check on each other’s physical and mental state, and we are feeling less and less uncomfortable about giving an honest account of how we really feel.
But I’m sure we would all agree that there are sometimes of the year that bring mental health to the forefront of conversation. Christmas is one such time. Stresses, anxieties and general feelings of being overwhelmed are no stranger to many of us. In fact, at least one in three of us report feeling the onset of depressive and anxious moods during this time. The burdens we often place upon ourselves from a financial, emotional and physical perspective are immense, and it’s no great surprise that for a lot of people this becomes too much to cope with, in such a concentrated window of time.
What Affects our Mental Health at Christmas?
It’s supposed to be ‘the most wonderful time of the year!’ But putting pressure on ourselves to be happy and to feel great about how we look can have quite the reverse effect. If you are one of the many women who have body image concerns, then the party season can seem like a looming nightmare. After all, this is the time of year we need to look our best. Competition is high amongst co-workers, friends and family, and discussions of what to wear probably started weeks ago. This is all great fun if you feel happy and confident in your own skin. Shopping for the perfect outfit and the anticipation of a great night out just adds to the party atmosphere. But for those women who feel less than content with their outward appearance, the thought of putting themselves on display, and the temptation to compare themselves to everyone around them, brings nothing but dread and anxiety.
For some, the idea of eating and drinking to excess is what Christmas is all about. For others it brings back unhappy memories of shame and guilt from overindulging in the past. Some women may have been on a pre-Christmas diet and are now anxious that they will lose control and all their hard work will be undone. This should be a time for relaxing and letting off steam. But the pressure to have ‘fun’ is often the catalyst for a Christmas meltdown.
The truth is you cannot force yourself to feel a certain way at a certain time. Whatever the festivities going on around you, mental wellbeing is far more complex than something that can be influenced purely by our external surroundings. How we feel about ourselves on a physical level fundamentally affects how we present ourselves to others, and how high or low our self esteem will be.
What Can We Do to Stay Mentally Healthy at Christmas?
The key is, try to be kind to yourself. It’s so easy to get caught up in trying to create the best Christmas for everyone else that we often neglect our own mental health. Christmas fun should not be forced. If parties and get togethers are not your thing, don’t feel you have to go along with the crowd. Doing what makes you happy will have a more positive effect on those around you than if you try to force yourself into a role that just isn’t ‘you.’
Planning is a good place to start. Decide what you are prepared to do, and what you are not, and stick to the plan. If the though of a little black dress event fills you with dread, don’t go. If you are getting overwhelmed with all the extra Christmas jobs, ask for help. Look after your body by eating well and drinking sensibly, and basically put your feelings first. That might seem like a challenge at this time of year, but a little more self-care can go a long way to making this time of year something to be treasured rather than dreaded!
How Can I Make More Permanent Changes?
The importance of our outward appearance differs from person to person, and there are times in our lives when it feels like more of a priority. Weddings, holidays and special parties are amongst those times when we want to look our best. We might put together a special diet or exercise plan to reach a new goal, we may change our hairstyle or update our wardrobe. But sometimes a more radical approach is required. That’s where the likes of Enhance Medical Group come into their own. One of their most popular procedures is breast enlargement. Over the years they have seen a real trend amongst women who wish to improve their self confidence and diminish low self esteem through cosmetic surgery. For some women, no matter how much care they take over their lifestyle, there is only one way to achieve the breast size that they crave, and that’s through breast enlargement surgery. The link between a positive body image and a healthy state of mind has never been greater, and thanks to the wide range of more permanent options available, more women are able to feel comfortable and confident in their own bodies.
We talk about the stresses of Christmas and the impact it can have on our mental health every year. But how much of the pressure is actually self-inflicted? If we take a step back and look at what really matters to us then it’s easier to make decisions that work for us, rather than trying to please everyone else. So, if your idea of a great Christmas involves rest and recuperation, then that’s the way you should go. If you want to show off that new shape in the littlest of little black dresses – go for it! The important thing is to find out what works for you, and don’t apologise for doing it.