You and your mental health still matter this Christmas

The Mental Health Foundation is part of the national mental health response during the coronavirus outbreak. Government advice designed to keep us safe is under constant review and will be different depending on where you live: more details and up to date information here

Christmas can be a joyful time of year for some people, through connecting to people they love and joining in with celebrations. And it can be a hard time of year for others, through feelings of obligation to social plans or an increase in feelings of loneliness and isolation.

The current uncertainty with the Covid-19 pandemic may also increase our stress or anxiety. So, we asked you, and our colleagues at the Mental Health Foundation, what helps you to look after your mental health during the holiday period? 

You responded with advice filled with warmth, community and care.

Tips for looking after your mental health this Christmas

Please follow the latest pandemic guidance on what is allowed in your local area, how to keep yourself and others safe and what rules are in place this Christmas when trying out our tips: four nations advice.

Reframing – How can you be your friend this Christmas?

  • Let yourself be the way you feel
  • Turn the volume down on the internal critic
  • 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

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

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
  • Uncertainty may increase our stress or anxiety, so, take the time to think of a plan b in case government restrictions around the pandemic change. You can keep up to date with local guidance here

Need support?

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.

We need your help

Our vision is a world with good mental health for all and we want to give people the tools they need to thrive. To help us continue to do this we need your help. Please consider a donation today.

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