Keep busy, keep mentally healthy over the festive season

Keep busy, keep mentally healthy over the festive season

As the holiday season is upon us, many people look forward to spending time with their family and friends, and enjoying some time away from work. However, not everyone feels the same.

Sadly, the thought of all that free and unoccupied time does not resonate happy feelings with everybody and can cause depression or anxiety in many. When there are no close friends or family in close range, feelings of isolation can cause mental negativity.

Sometimes, not everyone is able to spend time with their loved ones as they may have left the country, are physically too far away, or in some cases, have passed on. This time of the year can be especially hard as it serves as a reminder that that special person or people are not there. As well as depression, anxiety is a big issue as many people suffer from various degrees of it. Spending large amounts of money creates feelings of anxiousness as well as being in awkwardly large groups for get-togethers.

To cope, some turn to over eating as a way to pass time and make themselves feel good. This is only a ‘quick fix’. While certain foods can make us feel better temporarily, keep in mind that it is just a short term answer. As with alcohol too, over drinking can be harmful on the body. Depression and alcohol do not mix well.

Best is to plan ahead so you have a meaningful holiday season, and keep in mind that things will go back to normal soon after.

Signs you might be depressed:

  • Persistent sad or ‘empty’ feelings
  • Feelings of helplessness or guilt
  • Loss of interest in activities that you enjoyed before such as exercise or sex
  • Difficulty remembering things or concentrating
  • Excessive sleeping, insomnia or waking up too early for no reason

Being alone is not always a bad thing though as throughout the year, you’re busy and need some downtime. Just because you can’t necessarily be near your loved ones, doesn’t always mean that you can’t enjoy this time of year. Try to keep busy and you may find that time passes quickly and not that unpleasantly, too!

Ways to keep busy during the festive season:

  • Join a local get together in your neighbourhood
  • Call up your friends and family, even if you may not be able to see them
  • Allow yourself some small treats that you wouldn’t usually
  • Catch up on some home DIY or gardening
  • Enjoy the free time, by either going for long walks by the beach/park or in front of your TV, catching up on favourite series or movies

Remember that help is just a phone call away. Call the SADAG helpline any time at  0800 567 567


In the interest of our patients, in accordance with South African law and our commitment to expertise, MediHub cannot subscribe to the practice of online diagnosis. Please consult a medical professional for specific medical advice. If you have any major concerns, please see your doctor for an assessment. If you have any cause for concern, your GP will be able to direct you to the appropriate specialists.

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