HomeSmart LivingMental health is part of every season

Mental health is part of every season

Extravagant spending and parties may not be enough to charge your 2023 battery

Christmas as we knew it before Covid was a time filled with festivities, colour and laughter. It was a time for exchanging gifts, buying new clothes for the kids and hosting extended family members at your own expense, so that everyone could enjoy the fun. Fast forward three years in and out of Covid, and we’re in an economy and time where we need to be prudent with our spending habits — and our mental health.

Between spending money on shopping deals, reconnecting with friends, home renovations  and beach visits, it is essential that we learn to consciously be aware of the decisions we make during this time that contribute to our mental health, in the name of “Ke Dezemba Boss”.

Research shows that 38% of people suffer from ill health, and many will feel some form of anxiety and depression during the festive season, due to financial pressures and trying to keep up with the social expectations created around this season. Unfortunately, this is a reality or truth we are still learning to address — taking care of one’s mental health in different aspects of life was not holistically understood or spoken about in the past.

One of the things we need to be aware of is that mental health is a 365-day practice; it should not rely on the highs of dopamine and serotonin release, because our decisions are being driven by the euphoria of this year-end period.  Yes, we have been through a lot in the last few years, and we should honour and celebrate ourselves for making it to the end of the year, but it’s crucial for us to examine how we are doing this.

Don’t let the bottle popping and shop-till-you-drop culture during this period misdirect you into feeling or thinking you are not doing enough to celebrate reaching the end of the year. In fact, how you choose to celebrate Christmas and the festive season may not allow you to rejuvenate the soul for the new year; it may actually make you more anxious.

If you know you can’t afford that leg of lamb and that expensive outing, be honest with everyone. See how you all can contribute towards building memories together, remembering that this is a time of thanksgiving, and how we pressed on despite the challenging year many of us had.

To really reconnect and look after your mental health further, try spending a day or two detoxing and realigning with yourself, as you let go of 2022 and get ready to start the new year.

Remember that happiness should not be reliant on how much you spend, or showing your friend that you have “made it”. Every year is different, and we need to be intentional about everything that affects our mental health — even in the silly season.

Love & Light

Sithembiso Mkhwanazi