Christmas time and the festive season for most of us brings happiness and fun times, whether socialising with family and friends, eating far too many mince pies, or resting whilst curled up on the sofa. However, for many this might not always be the case, and Christmas time can bring its own challenges and can impact on our wellbeing.
That’s why, for each day up until the 24th of December, we’ll be sharing information on where you can find support this holiday season.
There are many reasons why Christmas might affect your mental health, whether you are talking part in Christmas or it’s happening around you. It’s often the time of year people feel extra pressure to spend more money than usual, behave a certain way, or spend more time with family, even if it might be at a detriment to their mental health.
The Mental Health Foundation has highlighted some helpful tips to help support your mental wellbeing this season.
Talk about your feelings – Admitting how you actually feel, although hard at what is meant to be an exciting time of year, can help to improve your mood and deal with your thoughts.
Do something you’re good at – What activities do you enjoy doing, that you can lose yourself in? Keeping up one or two of your hobbies, even at such a busy time of year, can help to beat stress.
Ask for help – If you are feeling overwhelmed and you are struggling to cope, ask for help. Samaritans are available to speak to all year round - their free helpline number is 116 123 and calls to this number do not appear on phone bills.
Keep in touch – Friends and family can offer different views to whatever is going on in your head, and can help to tackle whatever problem you have head on. However, if you are alone or away from family Shout, Mind or Age UK offer support and helplines.
Drink sensibly and eat well - It’s great catching up with friends over a few drinks, but know your limits. Drinking can impact on your mental wellbeing. Also, be mindful that too much sugar in your food can have a noticeable effect on your mental health in the short and long term. Try to remember, everything is best in moderation.
Keep active – Exercise is normally the last thing on our minds around the holidays, but research shows that exercise boosts self-esteem, releases endorphins and can help with sleep quality. If you’re feeling low or anxious around the Christmas period, a jog or a walk in the fresh air could help to improve your mood.
Take a break – If you are feeling overwhelmed, practicing mindfulness can be a great way to destress. You can find guided meditation or guided breathing workshops on youtube, or download a mindfulness app such as Headspace or Calm.
Please note this article has not been written by a healthcare professional, and it is always best to seek advice from a GP if you are experiencing a change in your mood or mental wellbeing.
Below are some more helpful resources and places you can find support and advice for your wellbeing this holiday season.
- Samaritans - 116 123 - Provides emotional support for anyone experiencing distress and challenging circumstances.
- Mind - 0300 123 3393 - Helpline providing advice and support for anyone experiencing a mental health problem.
- Shout - 85258 - Provides a free, confidential, anonymous 24/7 text messaging support service for anyone who is struggling to cope, feeling anxious, stressed, depressed, suicidal, or overwhelmed and who needs immediate support.
- Sane - 07984 967 708 - Sane provides emotional support, guidance, and information to any affected by mental illness, including families, friends and carers.
- Rethink Mental Illness - 0808 801 0525 - Provides advice and support to people severely affected by mental illness.
- Refuge - 0808 2000 247 - Provides advice and support for those experiencing abuse and violence.
- Age UK – 0800 678 1602 - Provides advice, support and friendship to older people.