Looking After Your Mental Health During the Festive Period

Looking After Your Mental Health During the Festive Period

Can you believe 2021 is literally round the corner? I don’t know about you but I’m ready for it – a fresh start. The festive period can be difficult for anyone’s mental health. I know in recent years it’s played with mine a tad. I’m used to having a massive family celebration at Grandma and Grandad’s with a game of New Market and eating chocolate until our hearts are content. This year it’s going to be a lot different.

Sadly two years ago, we lost my great Grandma who was the life of the party, believe me. Even typing that, I can’t comprehend it’s only been two years since she left us. It’s still very strange not having Grandma around anymore as Christmas would be her time to shine in New Market. I think this card game might just be popular with the Darby’s as every time I mention it to my friends they have never heard of it. But I quite like that, it’s the Darby’s own little secret.

This year is also the first year where I don’t have to worry about handing dissertations in or reaching project deadlines during this period as my educational life is over! I don’t think I’ve been this chilled with my mental health in a while. I received an alumni magazine from uni the other day, it really sunk in that I am now out in the ‘real world’ of (nearly) full time work. Now all I have to be somewhat worried about is if a customer likes the pen they’ve chosen to go with their fluffy notebook. It’s a stressful job selling stationery, ha!

Wrap up warm and go on a walk

Especially during lockdown 2.0, I found if things were getting to the brink of boredom…or I was getting cramp in my hand from cross stitching, a walk did the trick for a clear mind for my mental health like I mentioned in a previous post. Take That and The Pointer Sisters have made it onto the playlist so if you have any other cheesy song suggestions, let me know! You have to have Jump on any festive party playlist – it’s from the iconic Hugh Grant scene in Love Actually. The dance is also required too, sorry kids.

I’ve been working long days at work and coming home absolutely shattered as we’ve been like Christmas Eve every day since we opened up again. Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather do an 8 hour shift compared to the lunch cover shift we sometimes have. I also have a lovely team who I absolutely adore, we just laugh our way through our shifts and have a little rant about difficult customers when needed. I love being on the door when we have reached our store limit, I love finding out what everyone has been up to during lockdown and how far on they are with their Christmas shopping. A few customers have actually gone to my manager and said I need a pay rise, ha!

Have a social media detox for a week

I found this to be the best form of ‘therapy’ after my break up and it’s done wonders when I’ve been chocka at work. One thing I have learned is to not compare yourself to others so go get that hot chocolate with the extra cream and marshmallows and blooming ENJOY IT. You deserve it. While I’m writing this, I’m drinking my new favourite coffee (…I know, I’ve changed!) with a generous amount of cream.

I popped a photo of my hot choc on my Insta at the start of December and I got loads of messages and comments about the cream asking how I got it to look so good. Here’s me secret: I used to be a barista at a garden centre café. So you literally needed to get that cream spot on for customers or it would come straight back! Don’t even get me started on the cappuccinos.

I’ve started using Instagram a lot more during the Christmas period as I just love Christmas. It’s my ultimate goal to go and visit all the beautiful Christmas trees in New York, I blame my Mam. We’re both equally obsessed with Home Alone 1 & 2. The second featuring New York at its most festive time and it looks lush. The only problem is we are both a bit scared of getting on a plane. I’m sure if we were really tempted we would just suck it up and go!

Surround Yourself with People who Make You the Happiest

I think lockdown has really shown who really has your back when you’re going through something, especially with your mental health. After being best friends for nearly six years, I know I have Will, Jake and Lauren ALWAYS. I will also have Marty even if he isn’t just down the road anymore. He’s only a snapchat or message away. Who else would I rather go for a gin with? Alice and Chris are 100% there to add a comedic twist to everything too. You need balance in a friendship group. I was going to use the word bubble then, I think it’s been overused a bit in recent months…something to do with a pandemic…?

I’m so happy as Lauren has become a Christmas temp at my work so it’s been so lovely to actually see her nearly every day and work together again! It’s become a regular thing for us to have our lunch breaks together, we go for a little walk around town while it’s all festive and grab hot chocs. There’s actually a new hot chocolate BAR just opened in town which I am yet to visit. Maybe I’ll pop in on Christmas Eve for a nice little sugar rush!

Create a Support Network

I really do have a supportive network and they all make me do things to better myself. To better my mental health too. If it wasn’t for Marty and our degree, I don’t think this blog would actually exist. Through Instagram, I’ve found Natalie who is just WONDERFUL. How weird that we hadn’t met before as she went to uni with one of my childhood best friends. We just happened to follow each other on social media and the rest is history. I even sent her a Christmas card this year to say thank you for the support she’s shown. Not just for my blog but for my Instagram journey and break up too. Plus she’s constantly making me jealous with her travel reels on there too.

P.S: lifelong friends there, sorry but you’re stuck with me guys!

Niamh x



  1. 21/12/2020 / 19:00

    I’m from the US but my family is still taking the same precautions as the UK. And it’s sad. But my bf and i are trying to make the best out of it. We’ve been watching tons of holiday movies and eating yummy foods. And I think a social media break is a great idea as well. I plan to take a week break after blogmas before the new year.

  2. 21/12/2020 / 19:48

    Thanks for this post, I love these thoughts! My mental health has definitely taken hit after hit as things have been cancelled and I’ve been separated from those I love. But I’m really trying to look out for myself now, and I love the idea of going for a walk- I actually did that today after this weekend’s announcement and I found it really helpful x

  3. 22/12/2020 / 05:15

    Thank you for this post!! I’m totally going to do the social media detoxing for a week or so. I really needed to hear this. Have a lovely day!! ✨

  4. 22/12/2020 / 08:42

    These are lovely ideas, thank you for sharing Niamh! I’ve not heard of Market Street either so maybe it is a Darby family thing 😂

  5. 22/12/2020 / 21:40

    Thanks for sharing! While I haven’t worked in retail since March when we initially went on lockdown, I found the holiday season to be an almost fun time to work. You build such a bond with your coworkers, and getting to see more customers and talking to them is so much better than a slow day. I hope things remain positive for you at work. Now, I must go make some hot chocolate…

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