Looking after your mental health this Christmas

December 2021

You may or may not be looking forward to Christmas and everyone's experience is individual. Here are some tips for taking care of yourself and others over the festive season.

It’s looking like Christmas may well be a more social affair than last year. Let's hope so. But while it may be filled with cheer for some (or at least look that way), for many people it's a difficult time of year for all different reasons.

There are lots of expectations and commitments at Christmas which can feel overwhelming. And for some, it can be a lonely time. We want everyone to enjoy their festive period, so here are some tips and ideas for supporting yourself and those around you this Christmas.

  • Try to maintain as much of your usual routine as you can.
  • Eat well – by all means, treat yourself at Christmas, but be sure to enjoy fruit and vegetables at least every now and then.
  • Where possible, communicate your wants, needs and expectations for your Christmas with those you will be spending it with.
  • Try and identify ways to lighten your workload – suggest secret Santa over separate gifts for a whole group; make two courses instead of three; suggest a sibling day out instead of gifts; put your decorations up in stages etc. Every little counts to lighten the load – and the pressure.
  • Remember Christmas is a time to rest and be with those you love – the material elements are not as important as they seem.
  • There is no shame in cancelling social events to look after your mental health – keep an eye on your schedule and be aware of what you can realistically manage.
  • Self-care is important enough to be actively scheduled in. Take baths, meditate, watch a film, wrap up warm and go for a walk. Taking care of yourself is always worth prioritising.
  • Your routine may change and that’s OK!
  • Family isn’t always the safe place it needs to be. Get a date booked in with those who make you feel safe both before and after Christmas – that may well not be your family!
  • Take Vitamin D supplements over the winter period to give you a boost while the days are darker.
  • Journal your thoughts, feelings and what you are grateful for. You can even try the morning pages technique – write your continuous stream of thought for either 30 minutes or three pages in the morning. This helps to clear your mind and you don’t have to read them again afterwards. If you are struggling to start, try this prompt: What are your personal goals for this festive period?
  • Check in on your friends to see how they are and spend some time sharing with each other.
  • Most importantly, have fun in whatever ways you can. You deserve to have a good Christmas!

If you need any mental health support, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.