While Christmas can be a very happy and enjoyable time of year, for some it can be a difficult period; mental health doesn’t get easier just because it’s the festive season.
Here we have put together a list of five ways that you can make the festive season less difficult for yourself and others facing mental health challenges.
You don’t have to say yes to every Christmas gathering
Lots of social events are organised over the festive period with colleagues, family and friends. It can feel quite overwhelming to be invited to so many events. Instead of feeling like you have to go to every single one of these social gatherings, consider which events you would most like to go to and choose the ones you really feel able to attend. If you don’t feel up to attending any, then that’s okay too. You can always organise for yourself and a close one to socialise alone another time.
Equally, if you are organising a festive gathering, don’t be upset if someone cannot make it or only comes for a short time. They might be struggling. Check in with them and ensure they know it is okay to not attend or leave early.
Take some time out for yourself
Lots of people have one or two weeks off from work or school over Christmas so your home can feel busier than usual. If you find yourself surrounded by family all of the time or you are continually busy, be sure to take some time to yourself when you need to. Go and take a bath, read a book or go for a walk. It is okay to need some time alone to unwind and take a break.
Stay in touch with nature
While there may be grey skies and a cold breeze outside, it is important to stay in touch with nature and not shut yourself indoors for the entire festive period. It can be easy to find yourself slumped in front of a screen and stuffed with food; but this can make you feel lethargic and low in mood. So take yourself and your family out for a walk to find the best Christmas lights in your area and improve your mood.
Reach out to your loved ones
After the year we have all had, it is more important than ever to reach out to your loved ones this Christmas. Make sure they know you are there for support should they need it, even if you are not spending time with them over the festive season.
You don’t have to spend lots of money to let someone know you are there for them. You can send a card or letter in the post, give them a call or arrange a video chat over a cuppa. They will appreciate you taking the time to think about them!
Carry out a random act of kindness
Carrying out random acts of kindness is a win-win for all parties involved. Completing an act of kindness gives you a sense of meaning and purpose and lifts your mood. The person or people on the receiving end of your kindness will also appreciate that someone is thinking of them and it will lift their mood too.
If you would like to carry out a random act of kindness this Christmas, please consider making a donation to the Charlie Watkins Foundation so we can continue our vital work and give support to young people who need our help the most.