Posted by admin 2:46 am, 16 December 2015
Christmas can be a challenging time for many of our clients so we thought we would put a list of recommendations together to help you enjoy the Christmas break.
1. Schedule in some plans: One of the most experienced symptoms of depressed mood is a reduction in interest and enjoyment of activities. What we know however is that withdrawing from activities can maintain and sometime exacerbate depressed mood. While it is good to have some quiet time, it is equally important to schedule some activities in to your week to break through the lethargy circuit and assist in getting your mood on track. Write them in your calendar and commit to following through. The Cloud Clinic App has a good activity scheduling feature for depressed mood.
2. Exercise: Exercise greatly assists with the management of depressed mood, anxiety and stress. It is also very good for your physical health. Try to exercise most days even if it is only for 10 minutes. Research has found that 7-10 minutes of exercise each day assists with the management of depressed mood.
3. Sleep hygiene: While Christmas tends to be a time for later nights, this does not mean that it best for your mental health. Sleep deprivation can accumulate and begin to impact on your mood if you have too many consecutive nights of poor sleep. Schedule in at least 3-4 nights each week to maximise your sleep and help you enjoy the Christmas period.
4. Spend time with others: While I understand that some of our clients have a less than ideal situation with family and friendships, social isolation and withdrawal only maintains poor connection and emotional deprivation. It also directly impacts on mood. Problem solve around different options to maximise your social connection in with others. Volunteering is a good option for those by themselves on Christmas.
5. Get Rational: Christmas can often be a time in which people catastrophise their circumstances or see how they are currently feeling as an indication of the whole year. This is often not a rational reflection on the year and certainly does not help with mood improvement. Challenge your negative and irrational thoughts. The Cloud Clinic App has a good thought challenging exercise for better mood management.
6. Focus on the Present Moment: We often get caught up in our thoughts and stressors and lose focus on what is happening immediately around us. Mindfulness has been found to significantly assist in the management of depressed mood, anxiety and stress. You can download the Smiling Mind App for some free mindfulness tracks such as breathing and body scan. You could also ground yourself by paying attention to your senses. Mindful colouring in has also been very popular around the world lately.
7. Reach Out: if you are unable to manage your mood, stress or anxiety during the holiday period reach out to Lifeline, Kids Helpline, Beyond Blue or if at risk of harm, please go to the A&E department of your local hospital.
The teamat Mindright wishes you a Merry Christmas and look forward to reconnecting in the New Year.
Dr Michelle Pritchard, Director