Mental Health at Christmas

For most people, Christmas is the best time of the year. For others, Christmas time means loneliness, depression, stress and anxiety.

In fact, Mind have reported that 52% of people they surveyed have considered harming themselves at least once in their lifetime [1].

 

Why people may suffer from negative mental health during Christmas

Increased Workload or Tight Deadlines

We’ve all been there. It doesn’t matter if you work in retail, a call centre, a gym or a school, work seems to mount up the closer you get to Christmas.

Lots of people seem in a rush to get things done and out of the way before Christmas, and these tight deadlines and high expectations can sometimes lead to stress and anxiety.

 

Family Feuds

Christmas is sometimes the most time you’re going to spend with your family all year. With lots of people tired, drinking and feeling the pressure, it’s no surprise that family feuds often arise.

However, what might seem a harmless argument or ‘banter’ across the dinner table might have a negative impact on someone’s mental health.

 

Colds, The Flu and feeling Run Down

With the weather at its worst, colds and the flu thrive during Christmas. With the added pressure of avoiding Covid-19 over the past couple of years, it’s no wonder people feel anxious.

 

The Approaching New Year

Christmas also means that the New Year is approaching, which can be a very emotional time for some.

They might feel anxious of what the New Year might bring, or feel somewhat nostalgic or contemplative about the previous year.

 

The Magic and Myth of Father Christmas

For many parents or family members with young children, the idea of having to live up to Father Christmas’ standards can be nerve racking and pressure inducing.

Once a child wishes for a present from Father Christmas, it becomes the parent’s responsibility to help make their wish come through.

This puts a lot of pressure and anxiety on parents or other family members who maybe can’t afford to.

 

Ways people can protect their mental health during Christmas

If you’re struggling with ways to improve your mental health this Christmas, take a look at this Advent Calendar of Kindness [2].

1. Look after Yourself

Make sure that you spend some time for yourself this Christmas. Whether that’s going for a walk by yourself, listening to music and singing, or spending time with friends.

2. Talk to Loved Ones about How You Feel

If you’re feeling sad, anxious, depressed, or stressed, it’s always a good idea to talk to your loved ones about how you feel. They might be able to offer you some advice, or they might even be going through something similar themselves.

3. Plan

By planning ahead at Christmas, you’ll make sure that you’re not overstretching yourself. You’ll be able to plan everything in advance, so that you feel less stressed and overwhelmed.

4. It’s Okay to Say No

Learn to become comfortable with saying no. Whether that’s to alcohol, parties, getting presents for certain people or whatever else you’re committing yourself too. (2)

  1. Help out in the Community

During Christmas, there are a lot of people in your community who will be needing your help. As a way of helping yourself and giving back to your local community, volunteer in a soup kitchen or for another charity.

6. Maintain a Balanced Diet & Manage Your Alcohol Intake

Diet is everything when it comes to maintaining a healthy mind. Make sure that you eat as much fruit and veg as possible, even if that means brussel sprouts and as much mince from your mince pies.

You should also manage your alcohol intake and learn to say no when you’ve had enough.

7. Exercise Whenever You Can

Try to squeeze in a run or two in between parties and meals with friends and family. Not only will your body thank you, but your mind will too!

8. Put Your Phone Down

At Christmas time it’s easy to compare your situation to others on social media. Do yourself a favour and put away your phone during the Christmas period. Spend time with your friends and family and stop comparing your Christmas to other peoples.

9. Ask for Help

Above all else, remember that it’s okay to ask for help from your friends, family members, doctors, or charities. See below for information on a range of useful organisations.

 

 

mental_Health_christmas_infographic

 

References

[1] https://www.mind.org.uk/news-campaigns/news/mind-warns-that-people-with-mental-health-problems-struggle-with-self-harm-and-suicidal-feelings-due-to-the-pressure-of-christmas/

[2] https://charliewaller.org/media/ofpp0l5v/advent-of-kindness-2021-adult.pdf

[3] See more in Alcohol Rehab Lancashire