This content mentions loneliness or isolation, which some people may find triggering.
Christmas is a joyful time of year for lots of us; getting together with friends and relatives - the people we love. But it can be a hard time of year for others, with an increase in feelings of loneliness and isolation or feeling we have to join in celebrations when we don't really feel like it.
We asked you, as well as our colleagues at the Foundation: what helps us look after our mental health during the festive period?
Here are some of the top tips that we can all use to get us through what can sometimes be quite stressful.
Tips for looking after your mental health this Christmas
How you can be your own best friend this Christmas
- feel the way you feel, without judgement
- try not to be harsh with yourself
- make the festive period work for you as well as everyone around you
- remind yourself that you are loved
- be you, not what you think other people want you to be
- It should be a rest day, so take it easy. If you want to stay in bed, do it!
What's your agenda this Christmas?
- let others know what your feelings and expectations are – parents, in-laws etc.
- try to get some balance between your social obligations and what you want to do for yourself
- remind yourself that not everything ‘needs’ to happen over the festive period
- There's nothing wrong with saying 'no', but be sensitive to others at the same time
- it's also a time to look after your well-being, so prioritise it
- you'll need time for yourself. Don't be afraid to remind people. They'll understand and probably feel the same way
What self-care and day-to-day activities do you want to keep doing?
- if it's sunny outside, wrap up and just sit in the garden to get a blast of winter sun on your face
- close your eyes and take slow breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth
- find some time for yourself – have a long soak in a hot bath Treat yourself
- if you're finding it difficult to sleep, stick as close as possible to your usual routine
- Keep up with your self-care routine – exercise, sleep, socialise, volunteer, walk outdoors
- do some charity or community work. It will really help your feelings of positivity as well as help others
- if you live on your own, don't be afraid to ask someone to keep an eye out for you and to check in on how you’re doing
- do what makes you happy. Be indulgent. Pamper yourself
What do you want to do this Christmas?
- you could make a note of what is really important to you
- and do things one at a time. There's no hurry
- expect the unexpected. You never know how the day will turn out
- remind yourself that your routine will probably change during this time
- plan ahead and have some nice things arranged that you’d like to do outside of family gatherings
- Christmas with your family can sometimes be tough. Plan something to look forward to with your ‘chosen family’ (friends, neighbours etc.) for afterwards
If you need support
Sometimes, it can all feel like it's just too much. If you are feeling like ending your life, please call 999 or go to your local Accident and Emergency department and ask for the contact of the nearest crisis resolution team. These are teams of mental health professionals who work with people in severe distress.
- If you'd like to chat with someone, Samaritans are there for you on 116 123 (UK) for free, 24/7. They are there to listen. They won't judge or tell you what to do.
- C.A.L.M.: National helpline anyone to talk about any troubles they are feeling. Call 0800 58 58 58 (UK). They are available from 5 pm to midnight, 365 days a year.
- For support in a crisis, text Shout to 85258. If you’re experiencing a personal crisis, are unable to cope and need support, Shout can help with urgent issues such as suicidal thoughts, abuse or assault, self-harm, bullying, and relationship challenges.