Christmas can be a fun and joyful time for many of us, but it can also bring a lot of stress, worry and pressure. We’ve put together this guide to give you some top tips & advice for keeping well over the festive period, along with some great resources for you to access whenever you need a bit of support with your wellbeing.
Staying Well Over the Festive Season
Talk about your feelings
It can be hard to admit to not feeling great at such a supposedly “jolly” time of year. But talking about your feelings can improve your mood and make it easier to deal with the tough times. If you are finding things hard then don’t feel pressured to do more than you feel able to
Keep in touch and reach out
Christmas can be an all-consuming time, but don’t forget to reach out to your support systems. Friends and family can make you feel included and cared for. They can offer different views from whatever’s going on inside your own head, keep you grounded and help solve practical problems. If things are getting too much for you in the next couple of months and you feel like you can’t cope, ask for help! If you’re alone and/or away from support systems, the Campaign to End Loneliness provides some helpful resources.
Research shows exercise releases chemicals that make you feel good! Regular exercise can boost self-esteem, help you concentrate, sleep better and even feel better. Try going for a morning walk/practising yoga/getting some free workouts up on Youtube! It doesn’t matter what you do, just try to move your body
Do something you enjoy
Enjoying yourself helps to beat stress. As busy as the holiday season gets, try and keep up the activities and the hobbies you enjoy all year round. Use this as an opportunity to take some time out from everyday life. This can be an opportunity for reflection or some well-earned rest!
Care for others
Caring for others is an important part of keeping up relationships with people close to you. It can even bring you closer together and make you feel good! But, don’t run yourself ragged trying to keep everyone happy! Try not to do things for others at the expense of ourselves and our health. We’re allowed to say no and enforce our boundaries.
Looking After Your Mental Health this Festive Period
Reframing- How can you be your friend this festive period?
– Turn the volume down on the internal critic
– Let yourself be the way you feel
– Have a Christmas that works for you
– Remember that you are loved, YOU are worth it
– Think of it as your rest day
Boundaries- What is your agenda this festive period?
– Have clear boundaries with people and give yourself permission to say no
– Balance your sense of social obligation against your need for self-care
– Challenge the assumption that anything “needs” to happen over the festive period
– Think about what your agenda for looking after your wellbeing is and prioritise it
– Let family and friends know that you will need time out for quiet and calm
Planning- What do you want to do this festive period?
– Write down what is important to you, then prioritise and tackle one thing at a time
– Leave space for the unexpected and be mindful of how your routine may change
– Plan ahead & have things booked in that you’d like to do away from family/friend
– If family relationships are hard, plan something to look forward to with your “chosen family”
Actions- what self-care and day to day activities can you keep doing?
– Find time for yourself- meditate, have a bath, read. 5 mins to yourself is helpful
– If you struggle to sleep, stick as close as possible to your usual routine
– Keep up with your self-care routine- exercise, sleep, socialise, volunteer, walk
– Ask someone to keep an eye out for you and check in on how you’re doing
– Create your own experiences and happiness. Be indulgent and pamper yourself!
Online Mental Health Resources
The mental health foundation has some great resources, including this blog “You and your Mental Health Still Matter This Christmas”. Blurt also have a great blog called “Self-Care for the Festive Season”. The Royal College of Psychiatrists website is also a helpful online mental health resource. This free online resource can be good for improving your mental health through creativity. Or visit GMCVO for mental health support in Greater Manchester.
– Samaritans- 0161 236 8000 (local call charges apply) or 116 123 (free to call). Open 24 hours a day, they offer confidential emotional support. This can be by telephone, email, letter and face to face for people in distress
– Saneline- 0300 304 7000. Open 4.30pm- 10.30pm everyday. They provide emotional support and information
– Domestic Abuse- 0808 2000 247. 24-hour National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline
– GMMH Out of Hours Crisis Line- 0161 271 0450. Open 5pm- 9am Monday to Friday and 24hrs at weekend. For current users of Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust who use Manchester Services.
– Crisis Point- 0161 238 5149. This is a short-term residential mental health service for people suffering mental distress aged 18+ living in Manchester or have a Manchester GP
There are loads of guided meditation sessions on Youtube which can be really useful to taking time out, here are our favourites- 3-minute meditation, 5-minute meditation, 10-minute guided meditation, 10-minute morning meditation or 20-minute guided meditation to support with anxiety and stress.
At Home Activites
– Art Therapy- This Art Therapy website has loads of exercises people can do at home
– Try the Duolingo app to learn a new language.