You and your mental health still matter this Christmas

11 December 2017

Tips for looking after your mental wellbeing this Christmas

Christmas can be a joyful time of the year, filled with festivities, food, parties and time with loved ones. However, for some people, it can also be one of the hardest times of the year. Christmas can bring about feelings of obligation and over-commitment to social plans. Some people may experience loneliness and isolation. Others may find the disruption to their routines destabilising

So we asked you, and our colleagues at the Mental Health Foundation, what helps with your mental health during the holiday period? What tips would you give to friends and family to look after their mental wellbeing at Christmas?

You responded with advice filled with warmth, community and care

Full list of tips for looking after your mental health this Christmas

Reframing – How can you be your friend this Christmas?

  • Turn the volume down on the internal critic

  • Let yourself be the way you feel

  • Have a Christmas that works for you

  • Remember that You are loved. YOU are worth it

  • Give yourself permission to be you

  • Think of it as your rest day 

Boundaries – what is your agenda this Christmas?

  • Have clear boundaries with people – parents / in-laws etc.

  • Balance your sense of social obligations against your need for self-care

  • Challenge the assumption that anything ‘needs’ to happen over Christmas

  • Give yourself permission to say no

  • Think about what your agenda for looking after your wellbeing this Christmas is, and prioritise it

  • Let family and friends know that you will need time out for quiet and calm

 Planning – what do you want to do this Christmas?

  • Write down what is really important to you

  • Prioritise and tackle things one at a time

  • Leave space for the unexpected

  • Be mindful of how your routine is about to change

  • Plan ahead and have some nice things booked in that you’d like to do outside of family gatherings

  • If Christmas with your family can be tough then plan something to look forward to with your ‘chosen family’ (friends, neighbours etc.) for afterwards

 Actions – what self-care and day to day activities can you keep doing?

  • Sit in the garden in a warm coat and get a brief sunny boost

  • Meditate

  • Find time to yourself – take a long bath, or go on an errand, 5 minutes to yourself can be really helpful

  • If you struggle with sleep, stick as close as possible to your usual routine 

  • Keep up with your self-care routine – exercise, sleep, socialise, volunteer, walk outdoors

  • Spend time doing charity and community work

  • Ask someone to keep an eye out for you and to check in on how you’re doing 

  • Create your own experiences and happiness. Be indulgent. Pamper yourself

If you're in distress this Christmas and want someone to talk to, please call Samaritans on 116 123 - their phone lines are open all day every day over the festive period and they're free.

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