Christmas

Five ways to get through the festive period

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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!

  1. 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.

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Grief Awareness Week

Why we need to talk about grief

National Grief Awareness Week aims to make grief an easier topic to discuss and to ensure those who have lost loved ones feel they don’t have to suppress their emotions. Here we discuss why we need to normalise grief and start talking about it more.

Grief is something most people encounter at some point throughout their lives, yet the emotional experience of grief still has a stigma attached to it. Although it is a topic of conversation often avoided, we need to normalise grief and get talking to allow ourselves and each other to process these emotions.

It is important to be aware that grief affects everyone in various ways – people can react very differently to loss compared with others. Some may choose to be very expressive with their grief while others may withdraw into themselves.

There’s no right or wrong way to grieve, but it is important to check in with loved ones if they are going through a loss. They may look fine, but on the inside they could be struggling and in need of support and empathy.

Remembering your loved one

Discussing grief can be a helpful way to work through your own emotions, whether this is done in a professional setting, such as with a counsellor, or in a casual setting like talking with a friend.

If you have the courage to speak up, you could share your story of losing a loved one, like Harry and Tim have. Your story could resonate with someone who has been through something similar and give them hope.

If you would like to cherish memories with your loved one in a different way, you could come up with a new personal tradition or alternative ways to remember them – such as putting together special memorabilia, looking back on photos, or meeting up with mutual friends and family. This can help you establish connections and prevent fear and illness caused by suppressed emotions.

 

Keep in mind that anyone you come across could be experiencing grief, so it is valuable to always be kind. Here are some ideas of how to look out for each other and to start a conversation about grief:

  • Check on your neighbours
  • Stop for a chat
  • Put the kettle on
  • Go for a walk and talk

If you are looking for support for yourself or someone you know, please go to The Good Grief Trust for advice and guidance. Or if you would like to support the Charlie Watkins Foundation, please visit our ways to donate page.

If you are a business, you might want to consider becoming a mutual benefit corporate partnership.

We would be so grateful to any support are able to give, thank you.

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