I'm taking a break from the gift guides today to talk about mental health in the festive season for Day 4 of Blogmas. This is something that is incredibly important because no matter how much it is said, it seems apparent that people are unable to get their heads round it so let's say it louder for the people at the back; mental health does not take a break for the holidays. 

The stereotypical representation of Christmas is something that includes laughter, joy, and overall, good mood. Now, this is all well and good and I'm not saying don't enjoy your Christmas, I'm saying that you can't expect people to suddenly feel so happy and joyous because it's Christmas time when they are struggling with a mental health problem, that's just not how it works. In fact, in some cases, mental health gets much worse during the colder but festive months for a variety of reasons but one that appears incredibly prominent to me is the fact that people do just expect you to be happy and with that, comes added pressure. This added pressure results in more anxiety as people with mental health do not want to feel as thought they are letting their loved ones down. Therefore, I think that it's important to reassure people that it's ok, it's ok not to be as happy as everyone just expects.

If you think about it, Christmas really is a stressful time. There needs to be money for presents, food, travel to see loved ones and although everyone says in a cliche way that it's not about the money, let's be real. We are in 2017 and as awful as it is, most things do require money which can cause a lot of stress. Now, imagine that stress piled on top of a mental health disorder... it doesn't sound easy, right? No, not at all. Think about that next time you say something like "Cheer up, it's Christmas".

Similarly, the festive season can often be associated with negative memories for some people, so maybe they don't want to celebrate it. Maybe they don't want to wear a tacky Christmas jumper to work or consume copious amounts of alcohol at the end of year party. At the end of the day, it's nobody's business but theirs.

My main point in this post is that it's important to be considerate and aware of the fact that the festive season isn't everyone's idea of great fun, some people just want to get through it and that is ok. I read a tweet earlier about the fact that people say we have overcome the stigma surrounding mental health but we obviously haven't as people still like to pretend that if it's not talked about or isn't right in front of their eyes, it doesn't exist and it was the most accurate thing that I've read this week. We are a long way away from breaking the stigma surrounding mental health but it will happen, one day. People just need to realise that poor mental health will not suddenly be fixed by "a hot bath and an early night"