Mental Health and the Holidays

Often during the holidays mental health is overshadowed by glitter and tinsel. While the holidays are a time for joy and celebration, they can be difficult and bring some unique challenges for many of us. Therefore, it is important that we acknowledge and talk about metal health during this time.

Christmas can often bring pressure for perfection. We are surrounded by festive movies and books that are full of perfect families, magic moments, romances, Christmas miracles and scenarios that always work out perfectly in the end… they leave us believing that this is what the holidays are supposed to be like and have us yearning for those same experiences. However, in reality, not every moment will be blissful and this is normal.

Sometimes the best memories are found in the messy imperfections.
Sometimes things do not work out as planned.
No two Christmases are the same and that is okay.

  • If you are finding the holiday season difficult, remember that it is okay to manage your expectations. It is okay to tell others what your expectations are / or what they can expect from you; for example, if you are struggling financially this year, it is okay to let people know in advance.
    Those who truly matter will not mind, they will understand.
    The same stands if you are simply just not feeling very sociable this year!
  • It is okay to say ‘NO!’ You can decline certain activities, events and invitations if you are overwhelmed, tired, drained, or simply just do not want to go. Your well-being is more important – even at Christmas. Saying no is not a sign of weakness, it is an act of self-care. Setting boundaries is important. If however, you are unable to step away from the festivities, try to plan yourself some downtime for afterwards. This could simply be an hour or two for you to do something that you enjoy, something that helps you to unwind and relax; maybe reading a book, watching a movie, taking a bubble bath or going for a walk.
  • It is okay to reach out for support. You are not a burden, there will be someone happy and willing to listen to you and support you, whether it be a friend, a family member or a professional.

It is important to remember that not everyone can celebrate Christmas in the way that they might want too, or, some may not wish to celebrate at all. This is why it is important to listen to one another, understand one another and support each other where possible.

Mental health does not take a break just because it is Christmas, so we need to ensure that we look out for ourselves as well as each other – Remember, you never truly know what someone may be going through, so approach everyone with kindness.

Resources:
Mind Charity – 0300 123 3393 open 9am-6pm Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays)
Samaritans – 116 123 open 24/7 all year round.
CALM (ages 15 and over) – 0800 58 58 58 – open 5pm till midnight all year round.
CALL (Wales) – 0800 132 737 – open 24/7 all year round.
The Mix (under 25s) – 0808 808 4994 – open 4pm till 11pm.

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