Maintaining your mental well-being this Christmas

December 2022

Although traditionally people think of Christmas as a jolly time of year, it is also a season that many people find difficult with a negative impact on their mental health. So how can you maintain your mental well-being during the festive frenzy?

Christmas can be difficult for people for a whole host of reasons. Many people spend the holiday alone due to bereavement, estrangement, divorce/break-ups, health problems, or practical reasons like cost.

It’s a very expensive time of year and this is particularly stark this year with the rising cost of food and heating.

People often feel under pressure for different reasons: the pressure of buying presents, making Christmas dinner, hosting family and friends. Just the idea of spending time inside with family members over an extended period can cause anxiety for many.

It can be harder to get out and about, because of the weather, adding to a sense of cabin fever, and there’s a lot of social pressure to enjoy yourself and get in the Christmas spirit.

Although Christmas can be difficult, we want you to enjoy your festive season. Try our tips to look after yourself and maintain your mental wellbeing this Christmas:

  • routine is important for your wellbeing. Though it may be difficult, try to keep to a regular routine
  • a healthy diet is vital for our mental wellbeing. At Christmas, it can be easy to fall into bad eating habits and over-indulge. It’s okay to treat yourself, but try to balance this with healthy food, such as fruit and vegetables
  • if you have too much to handle and feel stressed try to lighten the burden. Suggest Secret Santa for presents rather than a present for each person, make fewer courses for Christmas dinner or ask others to bring food
  • communicate with friends and family. Be open about whether you need help and what to expect. Contact friends and family you won’t be seeing over the festive period and see how they are doing
  • you don’t have to attend every event. Attending too many events may make you feel stressed and tired. Prioritise the more important ones; it’s okay to say no
  • practise self-care. Have some “you time”. That could be a nice bath, something delicious to eat or a walk
  • make sure you get some time outside and some light exercise. It’s easy to be sedentary over Christmas, but time outside often makes us feel better
  • check in with friends and loved ones and see how they are.

Finally, Christmas is a time to be with people who are the most important to you (that may not be family!) and to relax. Even if you find the season difficult, try to find things to do which you appreciate and enjoy.

Have a safe and peaceful Christmas and do reach out for support if you are struggling.