Top Tips for Looking After your Mental Health at Christmas

For many of us, Christmas can be a challenging time. According to findings from the national Mind charity, one in ten people find themselves struggling to cope at Christmas time, and this number rises to a third of people for those of us living with mental ill health.

If you find Christmas a difficult time of year, here are some practical tips to help navigate the festive season more comfortably:

Plan Ahead:

If your Christmas involves being in an unfamiliar environment, consider what might help you feel more at ease. Prepare by packing items that bring comfort, anticipate potential difficult conversations by having responses ready, and jot down essential services’ Christmas opening hours. Ensure you have prescribed medications needed, as some pharmacy’s will operate reduced opening hours over the festive period.

Stay Active:

Amidst the disruptions to routine, try incorporating gentle activities into your schedule. Whether it’s a stroll in the park, a gentle stretch, or engaging in holiday-themed games, staying active can alleviate anxiety, uplift mood, and boost energy levels.

Prioritise Sleep:

A good sleep routine plays a pivotal role in our wellbeing. Maintain a regular sleep pattern (especially after busy periods), wind down by avoiding screen time an hour before bed, and give yourself the space and time to rest. This will help prevent irritability or low energy.

Eat and drink well:

Christmas is typically a time of overindulgence, but what we eat and drink can sometimes impact on how we feel. For example, too much sugar can have a noticeable effect on your mental health and wellbeing in the short and long term. And while it’s great to catch up with friends or colleagues in the pub, alcohol can sometimes lead to negative feelings, such as anger, depression or anxiety.

Self-Care Rituals:

Recognise what self-care means for you—whether it’s connecting with nature, preparing your seasonal favourite meals, or engaging in calming activities like colouring. Ensure that self-care remains a part of your routine throughout the festive season. If you need some self-care inspiration, explore our website for festive-themed activities, recipes, and our free wellbeing advent calendar!

Seek Support:

If you find yourself struggling with poor mental health, emotional distress, thoughts of self-harm, or overwhelming feelings, remember that support is available. Our Breathing Space service* offers a compassionate ear. You can reach us at 0808 175 1369 and the service is open every day of the year, even Christmas Day!

*The telephone line operates from 5.30 pm to 11.00 pm, while the face-to-face service is open from 6.00 pm to 10.30 pm.

Remember, taking care of your mental health is crucial, especially during demanding times like Christmas. Reach out, prioritise your wellbeing, and know that you are not alone during this festive season.

Posted on: 29th November 2023

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