Coping with Christmas
Christmas time can be a challenging time for all of us and it’s important that we think about how we’re going to look after our own mental health during this festive period. Here are some things to consider to help look after our own wellbeing this Christmas.
It’s ok to prioritise what’s best for you, even if others don’t seem to understand.
- Think about what you need and how you might be able to get it.
- Consider talking to someone you trust about what you need to cope.
Take time out. Do something to forget that it’s Christmas or distract -for example, you could watch a film or read a book that’s set in the summer. Or try learning a new skill?
Think about whether you really need to do things if you’re not looking forward to them.
- Can you do them differently or for less time?
If you’re worried about feeling lonely or isolated this Christmas, think of some ways to help pass the time
- For example, this might be doing something creative or spending time in nature.
If you can’t be with the people you want to see in person, you could arrange a phone or video call to catch up with them on the day.
Try to plan something nice to do after Christmas. Having something to look forward to next year could make a real difference.
If other people’s questions are difficult, you could think of some answers in advance so you’re not caught off guard.
If other people don’t seem to understand how you’re feeling, you could also think about writing down how you’re feeling and sharing this with them, if conversations are difficult.
Set your boundaries. Say no to things that aren’t helpful for you.
Let yourself experience your own feelings. Even if they don’t match what’s going on around you, they’re still real and valid.
Let yourself have the things you need. For example, if you need to take a break instead of doing an activity, or need a little bit of quiet time.
If you can’t avoid something difficult, plan something for yourself afterwards to help reduce the stress or distress you might feel.
Tell people what they can stop, start or continue doing to help you. For example, you could let them know any activities you’d like to be involved in, and what they can do to support you during Christmas. Or you could tell them any questions or topics that you find hard to discuss, so they can avoid asking about them.
You don’t have to justify yourself to others but may feel pressured to, especially if someone asks a lot of questions. It could help to let them know that certain situations are difficult for you and what they can do to help. Certain places may feel very uncomfortable, could you plan to spend less time in difficult places, or not go at all? Are there any reasonable excuses for you to stay away?
“I try not to think too much about Christmas. If it turns out to be good then that’s a bonus, if not then at least I haven’t got myself worked up over nothing!”
“My advice is to take your time. Christmas can be a very busy time of year, if you need a break don’t feel bad about taking one.”
“I’m trying to be kind to myself, like making myself a self-care stocking with things that will help.”
“I don’t really celebrate Christmas and always enjoy taking the day as time just for me, a whole day of self-care and selfishness!”
“I’ve found the way of having a happiest Christmas is doing what’s right for me. Making careful choices who I spend my time with and keeping in mind that it’s just one day. The interactions I have with people throughout the year are just as important.”
“It had helped me to be on Mind’s online community in December. It was a nearly Christmas-free place. People knew that we all have to deal with a lot during this time of the year in our own worlds and it was peaceful just to talk.”
Set a ‘start’ and ‘finish’ time for what you count as Christmas. Remind yourself that it won’t last forever!
Call Samaritans on 116 123 (freephone). They’re always open.
Text SHOUT to 85258. This is a free 24/7 crisis text service run by Shout.
Online community to talk others who have similar experiences to yours. Mind’s online community Side by Side (safe place to connect with others)
Posted on: 17th December 2021