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A mental health advocate explained why Christmas might not be a happy time for everyone and shared tips on how to get through the holiday season.

Mental Health and Spirituality Instagramer Saoirsesjourneyx believes in recognizing mental health during the holiday season.

It’s a time when happiness is expected, but Saoirse says it’s time to normalize by putting yourself first.

She told Dublin Live: “I’m not a big fan of Christmas. I always feel like you have to be happy and if you’re not happy you let people down.

“Over the years I have learned to set limits, let your family know if you are not feeling well and if you do not want to be with the family 24/7, do not force yourself to do it. .

“It’s important to spend time with yourself. Some people with mental health problems find it difficult to cope, they feel pressured.

“You almost have to pretend you’re happy when you’re with a family you might not have seen in ages. Tell your parents or those closest to you that you trust if you don’t want to be in a certain situation, let them know your limits so that you can stop feeling the pressure.

While it can be difficult, Saoirse says the key to being happy is putting yourself first.

She said: “Christmas is about family and friends, but the best thing, for me anyway, it’s vital to put yourself forward. If you constantly put others first, you won’t be the best version of yourself.

“Putting others first all the time is detrimental to your mental health, you are on the back burner, you are not taking care of yourself. “

Saoirse relaxes with a book

Many people suffer from eating disorders and Christmas can be a difficult time for many.

Saoirse said, “People don’t realize that commenting on what people eat or how little or how much they eat can trigger anything.

“You might be doing fine, but if someone comments on your eating habits, it might freak you out. People need to understand eating disorders.

“Do not comment on the behavior of other people at the table because they may have difficulty. Eating is an important part of Christmas, so those with an eating disorder may already be triggered, try not to comment on someone’s weight, what they eat, or what they don’t eat.

Saoirse in her favorite pajamas

And Christmas can be a difficult time for those who mourn the loss of a loved one. This year, Saoirse and his family are spending their first Christmas without his grandfather.

“I lost my grandfather to Covid in March, we won’t have him for Christmas this year. It’s the little things like Christmas cookies that always have the little crown hats, he had dementia but he always sat in a corner as happy as he could with that hat on even though he had no idea what was going on, he was still smiling, ”Saoirse continued.

“It will be a difficult transition, but it’s important to celebrate his memory and talk about the good times we had with him. The first Christmas will be tough, you won’t feel like it’s gone, but join your family if you feel weak because they might feel similar and it would be hard for them to talk about it.

“Try to be grateful for the times you spent with someone you have lost and they will always be with you. It is heartwarming to know that you do not feel alone about this, the first Christmas without someone. one will feel like a piece of the puzzle is missing.

Saoirse is constantly promoting personal care on her Instagram and TikTok accounts. She says it’s the simple things that make her happy.

“If I’m having a bad day, I put on my favorite pajamas, I put silly reality shows on Netflix, I watch Selling Sunset now to help me disconnect. It takes me to another world, I don’t even think about my feelings because I am so amazed by the program, ”she added.

“If you have a pet, cuddle it, talk to it, even if it can’t understand. It’s nice to have someone who loves and worships you.

“Even making your favorite drink or food, like hot chocolate, simple things. As you read and meditate, you can find five minute meditations on YouTube to refocus yourself in reality. It can bring you joy and regulate your emotions.

“If your mind is panicking, there’s a lot of things in your house that can help you, there is something out there that will help. “

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