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Not so holly and Jolly

The Christmas period isn't always a good experience for everyone

Written by Marie Duffy | View this authors Twitter page and posted in opinion

This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for please contact

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It's the most wonderful time of the year! At least that's what everyone's saying, but is it really what you're feeling? In reality the holiday season can be the most difficult time to stay positive. Between darker evenings, long working hours, exam stress and social expectations; who can blame us for feeling the winter blues?

Here's some tips for making the most of your Christmas holidays.

Try not to stay in bed all day

So let's start at the beginning: getting up in the morning, I stress the word morning because with time off college and work it's very tempting to stay in bed all day while we have the chance. I'm the biggest culprit for staying in bed all day and I always end up feeling sorry for myself when I do finally leave the sheets. Make sure to set an alarm the night before and try not to sleep for more than 8 hours, over-sleeping just makes you feel more tired. Try removing all technology from the area; scrolling through Instagram liking people's pumpkin spice lattés and Christmas shopping will only make you feel worse for lying around doing nothing! Even if all you do is take yourself to the couch to watch Netflix, you'll feel better than if you stayed in your bed.

Get some exercise

Try to make the most of the opportunities you do have to be out in the light. Whether it's a run, a walk, a cycle or even just popping out to your back garden. Don't let the rain stop you, we do live in Ireland after all! Wrap up warm and wear a rain jacket, even if it's just a 10 minute walk up to the shop and back, you'd be lying if you said you don't feel better than if you'd stayed at home in your sweaty pyjamas eating pot noodle. If you're in work try to get outside during your lunch break and if you're studying for exams a breath of fresh air can be exactly what you need to keep motivated.

Try to eat well

We all know how important good food is for our well-being, but it's easy to fall off the wagon at Christmas time with so much goodies in the house and takeaways being ordered regularly. You can find yourself eating leftover pizza and half a box of milk tray for breakfast, which I would be totally up for doing if it didn't make me feel terrible. Having something a little more nutritious will make a huge difference to your mood. I'm not saying you need to eat a head of lettuce and an avocado for lunch(but if you're into that, be my guest). Some chicken with pasta or rice will do. I personally am terrible at cooking so I find the usual "healthy eating" suggestions unrealistic, but just eat whatever makes you feel good and try to avoid the takeaways. I am a big fan of takeaways, just have them in moderation. The less you have them, the better you will feel and the more enjoyable it will be on the occasions when you do choose to have one.

Don't overdo it on alcohol

Don't drink the holidays away. Christmas parties, 12 pubs, family get-togethers and friends coming home for the holidays mean that we drink more at this time of year than any other. Don't torture yourself with post-session depression! Be smart and have a few drinks when you want to, but in reality 12 pints in one evening is unrealistic for most of us and you'll find it impossible to get out of bed the next day. Don't be afraid to pass on a few rounds or just get a soft drink so there's a drink in your hand and you can go unquestioned!

Most of all - do try to embrace the time of year! You don't have to be a big Christmas fan to appreciate the buzz in the air, the lights and decorations and Christmas dinner. If all else fails you can watch Home Alone with some hot chocolate and your fluffy socks on, add a turkey sambo to the mix and you've got a pretty good thing going! Christmas isn't so popular for no reason, so try to take some joy from it. 

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Published Decem­ber 15th2015
Tags christmas opinion
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