Andy Williams once famously sang that Christmas is The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. Sadly, for some, this is not the case at all. A recent survey for the Skipton Building Society revealed that one in three Brits struggle with their mental health at Christmas. There are many reasons for this time of year being more difficult, including worrying about money, finding time to do everything, and keeping everyone happy. Moreover, this time of year can make people feel lonelier and miss loved ones more. Here are five tpm top tips to look after your mental health at Christmas.
Prioritise time for yourself
As we are all rushing around, it can often be easy to forget to take time out for yourself. You may even find yourself agreeing to go to places or do things that you do not enjoy. Don’t be afraid only to do things you want to do. Set time aside for yourself in this busy period. Moreover, make sure you get enough rest and sleep as not enough sleep will make you feel more stressed.
Keep active to support your mental health at Christmas
It is well known that physical activity can boost moods. Furthermore, studies have shown that it can help alleviate stress and anxiety. At a time of year when stress levels and pressure can be high, keeping active can be the perfect way to reduce these anxiety levels. Why not keep off phones, laptops and devices and take a winter walk? Being in nature can also boost mental wellbeing.
Limit food and alcohol
Christmas is often a time of excess. With lots of parties and an emphasis on festive food and drink, it can be easy to overindulge. Alcohol can affect the delicate balance of chemicals and processes in the brain. Furthermore, it can affect our thoughts, feelings, and actions. Additionally, there is a link between alcohol and aggression. Some people report becoming angry, anxious or depressed when they drink. Similarly, choosing the wrong foods and overeating can negatively affect our mental health. Eating well can improve your mood and give you more energy.
Set realistic budgets
A huge worry for many this year will be how to pay for Christmas. Set a realistic budget and try to avoid going into debt. Remember that you probably don’t need as much as you think to make this a great time.
A recent survey by MIND found that one in ten people feel that they can’t cope at Christmas. Many put this down to feeling incredibly lonely. For some, the pandemic has made this loneliness worse. The survey reported that the 18-24 age group often thought they had no one to talk to at Christmas about their mental health. Talking to loved ones about mental health or feelings of loneliness can help, but plenty of organisations can help if you don’t have anyone. The following organisations all run specialist help at Christmas
Samaritans or ring 116 123
SHOUT or text SHOUT to 85258
Mental Health UK (includes the option to join a supportive online community via CLIC)
You could also volunteer to help at food banks, shelters and other charities to meet people and feel part of a community.
Don’t forget, if you are a tpm learner and are worried about your safety, you can contact the tpm safeguarding team.
From everyone at tpm, we hope you have a happy, safe and healthy Christmas and New Year.