Six tips for coping during Christmas
Whether or not Christmas is part of your life, your mental health might be affected by it happening around you. It’s a time of year that often puts extra pressure on us, and can affect our mental health in lots of different ways.
If you find Christmas a difficult time of year, here are six tips that may help you cope.
1. Be gentle, generous and patient with yourself
- It’s okay to prioritise what’s best for you, even if others don’t seem to understand.
- Think about what you need and how you may be able to get it.
- Consider talking to someone you trust about what you need to cope.
2. Plan ahead
- Make a list of any services that you might need and their Christmas opening hours.
- 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.
3. Manage relationships
- If other people’s questions are difficult, you could think of some answers in advance so you’re not caught off guard. For example, about your plans or how you’re doing.
- Think about how to end difficult conversations. It’s ok to tell someone you don’t want to talk about something, or to change the subject.
- Suggest an activity or an easy way to move on, if you want to help end an unwanted conversation.
For tips on coping with tension , how to care for relationships when you’re apart, and how to cope with spending Christmas alone, visit:
4. Look after yourself
- 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.
5. Talking to other people
- Let people know you’re struggling. It can often feel like it’s just you when it’s not.
- Tell people what they can stop, start or continue doing to help you. You could let them know any activities you’d like to be involved in, and what they can do to support you during Christmas.
- You might not be able to make others understand. That’s OK. It’s not your responsibility to convince other people, or get their permission to look after yourself.
6. Get support
If you’re struggling this Christmas, you may want to find support for your mental health. There are a few ways that you can do this:
Make Christmas what you want it to be. Remember it is one day. If you want to be sad and remember loved ones lost then that is OK, if you want to go for a curry and not have people round and stress yourself cooking that is OK, if you want to not visit the in-laws then that is OK too.
We put way too much pressure on ourselves. Sure, there’s things in life we have to do that we do not want to, but remember we always have a choice. We need to master our own thoughts and actions. After all happiness is a state of mind, not a fixed state. Enjoy the moments we are given and if you are struggling, reach out.
– Alan Wilson, Wellbeing Practitioner
Posted on: 14th December 2022