Mental health doesn’t take time off at Christmas, and with all the added stresses that can come with the festive season it’s very important to care for your wellbeing. Here's 12 tips to look after yourself over Christmas.
1. Plan ahead
Avoid unnecessary stress over Christmas by planning as much as possible in the run up to Christmas, but don't take on too much. There is nothing wrong with saying no and letting people know how busy you are already. Ask for help too, for example, if you’re hosting Christmas dinner this year, you could ask some of your guests to bring a starter or dessert?
2. Make time for you
At Christmas it can be all too easy to get swept up into other peoples’ ideas of fun. It’s important to make sure that you do something you want to as well – make the most of your time off! If you have a few days of events, make sure you have a break in between for a day to relax or do stuff you enjoy.
3. Avoid comparisons
If you happen to go on social media over the festive season, try to avoid comparing your experience to those of your friends. Remember that most people only share the best bits of their lives online and you don’t know what’s going on behind the smiling selfies and prezzie pics!
4. Pace yourself
Give yourself time to relax over the Christmas period – don’t be afraid to take time out to go for a walk, listen to music or have a nap if you need it. If you’re hosting, try to plan this in advance.
5. Get outside
Going for a wintery walk – even if it’s just around the block – can be the perfect way to get some fresh air and exercise along with a change of place. Being in the same house for too long can get a bit intense, especially if it’s crowded, so a change of scenery will do everyone good! You can even pledge to continue this as part of Red January (click here).
6. Try to eat healthily
Whilst it’s fine to have a bit of culinary indulgence over Christmas, it can be difficult to keep your diet balanced with excess amounts of alcohol and high calorie meals. Try eat fruit and vegatables when possible as this can help you avoid energy lows which can in turn, effect your mood.
7. Alcohol in moderation
While a bit of alcohol can make you feel relaxed, don’t forget that drinking too much can leave you feeling irritable and low. Drinking within the recommended guidelines means you’ll get to enjoy a Christmas tipple, whilst reducing the negative effects on your mood. Alcohol can also play a big part in arguments and disagreements, so it’s sensible to drink in moderation.
8. Get enough sleep
Feeling sleepy can also leave you feeling low, so try to keep to regular sleep patterns as much as possible over the Christmas period. This is something to think about if you're partying late, make the next day a break to catch up on sleep and to unwind.
9. Talk to someone
If you’re worried about Christmas or feel overwhelmed or under pressure, don’t be afraid to talk to someone about it. Have a chat to someone you trust. You can alternatively call Samaritans on 116 123. They are trained to listen and are open 24/7.
10. Keep active
Exercise can be great for mental health and there are still ways to keep it up over Christmas! Have a boogie to some festive classics or head outside for a fresh wintery walk. If we’re lucky enough to have a white Christmas, you could even get some people together for a snowball fight or go sledging!
11. Christmas alone
If you’re spending Christmas alone, have a think about what you want to do beforehand. You may decide to curl up with a favourite movie, book yourself a getaway or arrange to go to a Christmas lunch in your area. You could also consider volunteering at Christmas which is a great way to meet new friends and give something back.
Giving something back by volunteering can help you feel good about yourself. Head to do-it.org to check out local opportunities!
Support for mental health at Christmas
If you’re worried about your mental health at Christmas, visit our mental health support section for tips and advice. Please note our opening hours are as follows:
Monday Christmas Eve - 9am-2pm
Tuesday Christmas Day - CLOSED
Wednesday Boxing Day - CLOSED
Thursday 27 December - 9am-5pm
Friday 28 December - 9am-4pm
Monday New Year's Eve - 9am-5pm
Tuesday New Year's Day - CLOSED
Wednesday 2 January - 9am-5pm