The Easter weekend may not be as difficult a time as the Christmas break, but many of us may still struggle during the holiday period. In this blog, we look at 6 mental health tips to help take care of yourself during the bank holiday Easter weekend.
Our first mental health tip centres around nutrition. Easter is a holiday heavily associated with chocolate and sweet treats, which people with certain mental health diagnoses, in particular eating disorders may find triggering.
Read more on the signs and symptoms of eating disorders, plus some tips on how to navigate the long weekend with an eating disorder.
Diet culture also leaves many of us feeling guilty for eating certain foods, and chocolate is high on that list. Remember it’s okay to indulge occasionally. You shouldn’t restrict yourself from enjoying sweet treats every now and again or feel like you need to do more exercise to burn off what you’ve eaten.
Try to keep your meals over the weekend as balanced and nutritious as possible to ensure you’re still getting all the essential nutrients your body needs. Research has shown a link between a balanced diet and improved mental health and a good diet has been linked to improved mood and increased energy levels.
Foods that are full of vitamins and nutrients include:
Our second mental health tip is to express gratitude. Reflecting on the things you are thankful for over the Easter period is a great way to avoid dipping into a negative frame of mind.
You can mentally run through your gratitude list, or if you want to jot down your thoughts, here are some top tips for gratitude journalling:
Social media can have a big impact on our mental health, both positively and negatively.
You may see people posting pictures of their fun-filled Easter breaks or decadent chocolatey creations and this could lead to comparison or “FOMO” (fear of missing out).
One way to reduce these feelings is to take a break from social media over the Easter break, whether you detox altogether or simply limit your time on social media platforms. Spend more time in your present moment rather than comparing yourself to what you see others post online.
Scheduling time in with family and friends, even virtually, is a great way to combat feelings of loneliness which can be detrimental to our mental health.
Research has also shown that good quality social connections can help decrease the risk of developing depression. (Alan R. Teo et al., 2013.)
If you are feeling lonely or are unable to connect with those closest to you, you could try joining online community groups to chat with people with similar interests to you. If you have a dog, taking them out for a walk usually means you will bump into another dog owner (or several!) and have a friendly chat. You could also go to the cinema, or volunteer for a local charity.
According to research, creative activity has a positive effect on our mental health. One study by Tamlin S. Conner et. al (2016) found that individuals taking part in regular creative projects felt happier and had a more positive overall wellbeing than those who didn’t.
Our final mental health tip is to feel comfortable saying no. With the long weekend over Easter, it can be the perfect time to schedule some social activities with family and friends. However, it’s important to avoid committing to too much to avoid burning yourself out.
Ensure that you take some time for yourself to relax and recharge, whether that’s doing something you enjoy such as reading a few chapters of a book, spending an hour doing a jigsaw puzzle, or sitting on the couch and watching your favourite Netflix show for an afternoon.
Hopefully, some of these mental health tips prove useful in taking care of your mental health over the Easter break. Holiday periods can be a challenge for many of us. It is important to be kind to ourselves, allow yourself to feel your feelings and take care of each other as best we can. Be kind to yourself this Easter weekend.
If you need further support, the Mental Health Foundation has a list of resources that you may find useful.
If you need urgent help over the bank holiday weekend, find a local NHS urgent mental health helpline.
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash.