'Tis the Season to...be mindful of your mental health.


So it appears Rodney Hylton Smith, better known as Roots Manuva, is having a really terrible Christmas if his at times nonsensical, rather upsetting Twitter feed is anything to go by.  A constant stream of soul bearing about his relationship, random abuse, and increasingly strange tweets have been steadily coming out on his timeline over Christmas and Boxing day.   

Maybe he got hacked,  or indeed he's having a break down during what's both a festive but also high stress time of year, either way it got me wondering about mental health. It also made me think back to a Christmas after a significant relationship ended, when the emotional struggle was real. Waking up alone on a day that used to be full of multiple family visits, food and friends reduced me to tears  and Christmas was far from joyous. The cloud hung over me for a couple of weeks, as the change in routine that comes with summer left me with time on my hands to over-think everything to death. So, with all this in mind, I headed to google to see struggles were common for this time of year and sadly it seems they are. 

According to the Victoria State Government's Better Health Channel states that 'Stress, anxiety and depression are common during the festive season.'  Like most mental health services, they  advise simple things to keep on top of your game, all pretty standard tips for mental health, but worthy reminders nonetheless, so here you go. 

 When we are sad, or anxious or stressed we all reach for things to numb those feelings. For many, it's alcohol and other drugs.  While they can make a shitty day seem fun, they don't actually do anything to help in the long term.  If you choose to drink and use other drugs, make sure it's sensibly and infrequently, and not to expressly escape undesirable feelings. If you're worried about your own or someone else's drug use, you can find information and links to help here.

When it comes to eating, while a blow out on Christmas day is expected for most of us, don't over eat too often during the summer break. Maintaining a healthy diet and weight is great for your your mood and can work towards preventing symptoms of lethargy and irritability. And make sure you keep moving. Exercise as we all know makes us feel better, physically and emotionally. It doesn't have to be some insane Cross Fit work out, (though that is a good time), just go for a walk or a swim or shoot some hoops. That shit is fun! 

Human connection is vital for our well being, but as our families might get smaller, people move overseas and our friends become involved with their new kids and can't hang out like they used to, the holiday period can be a lonely time for some. While your normal crew might be out of town, use the opportunity to try and schedule in some time to see friends, family and loved ones that perhaps you haven't caught up with in some time. Skype makes the world small, if everyone is out of town, call a homie up in New York. If you're feeling down or anxious, talking is a great simple way to help you process things. Problems can seem so huge in the confines of our head, but when they are out in the big wide world, they often seem smaller and more manageable. And don't forget, if you're more than a little blue and struggling with something that feels serious, there are always great trained people who can listen to you and help at places like Lifeline .

So, if you're feeling shit, there are simple things that can make you feel better. Talk. Move. Connect. Ask for help if you need it. I hope Mr Manuva gets some, or at least the log in to his Twitter account back.