Why Christmas is good for our mental health but with caveats

Last Christmas may have been a more subdued one than we’ve ever been used to, and while concerns about Covid-19 may have abated, this festive season’s celebrations may still not be entirely back to normal. However, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that entering into the spirit of the season will be good for our mental health. The rituals and collective goodwill can boost mental well-being.

While recognising that Christmas can be a tough time for many, the annual festivities have important religious, social and cultural purposes for lots of us. For people of all faiths, plus those with none, Christmas brings people, families and communities together.

What research says about Christmas and mental health

There have been a few studies on how Christmas impacts mental health. Research way back in the 1970s concluded that over a seven-year period, there were fewer psychiatric admissions during the festivities. That study was backed up by another in 2011 that found there to be fewer emergency department visits related to mental health during the Christmas period.

When the Washington Post analysed Google searches during December and January one year, they found Christmas Day had the fewest “sad” search terms, such as “depression”, “anxiety”, and “stress”.

Why Christmas may be good for our mental wellbeing

Certainly, mutual support is crucial for people with mental health issues. Leaning on others is important, and perhaps at Christmas, this becomes easier for many. Lots of people will simply have more people around them than at other times of the year.

However, we do need to keep in mind that the array of stresses that build around the festive season, plus the potential for increased feelings of isolation, mean we really do need to keep an eye out for each other, no matter the state of our mental health.

Financial stresses are rarely higher than at Christmas. Before you shop for anything, why not see what discount codes and vouchers are available for the items you’re seeking to purchase? Even a small saving can make a big difference.

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