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Your mental health at Christmas

Holiday seasons such as Christmas can bring much joy and happiness. They can also often trigger stress or negative feelings, especially if you're already vulnerable.

The holidays can bring a lot of demands such as financial, social and family. This is especially true for vulnerable people, or people already feeling under pressure.

At these times, it's very important to plan ahead to avoid feeling overwhelmed. You can't choose when Christmas comes, but you can choose to help yourself get through it.

Have realistic expectations

Be honest and realistic about what you can expect from the season. Don't compare yourself with other people. Don't expect that Christmas will be perfect. If things don't turn out as planned, it can have a negative impact on your self-esteem.

Instead, focus on 1 or 2 things that are most important to you at Christmas. This year, promise yourself you'll have a simpler festive season.

Reflect on what you've achieved this year

As the end of the year approaches, try not to be hard on yourself for things you thought you should have achieved by now. Accept yourself and where you are right now. This Christmas period, use the time to reflect on how far you have come and all you have achieved.

Show compassion for others

A simple act of kindness can change any experience completely. Often at Christmas, people feel more lonely and isolated than normal. A thoughtful gesture can make a real difference. This could be spending time with someone or offering them a listening ear.

Research shows that helping others increases your own sense of wellbeing. An easy way to do this is to take part in your community.

Seek professional help if you need to

Despite your best efforts, you might feel low, stressed, sad or anxious over Christmas.

Talk to your GP before Christmas about what support they can offer you.

Don't hesitate to reach out. Many services (especially helpline and online services) are open during Christmas.

Healthy habits

At times like Christmas, it's easy to fall out of your normal routine. Your body clock can change and it's not unusual to over-indulge in many different ways.

As a result, your motivation levels can drop and you can feel bloated, sluggish and unwell.

Maintain your healthy habits by:

Self-care

Above all else, allow yourself to take some time out during the Christmas season. If you are feeling drained in any way, find yourself a quiet space to breathe.

Take time to rest and restore your energy. Christmas might be all about giving, but that means giving to yourself too.

Page last reviewed: 23/09/2018
Next review due: 23/09/2021

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