A lot of us know Christmas as ‘The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year’, however for some, Christmas does not bring joy. It can bring more anxiety and depression than any other time of the year. It is time to look after ourselves and each other, as statistics show that over 35,000 people in Salford are struggling with a mental health issue.
The religious holiday is a time when we can the celebrate the birth of Jesus. It is a time to spread love and joy with our friends and family.
Most of us will look forward to singing Christmas carols, stuffing ourselves with Christmas dinner, pulling crackers and reading silly jokes. Let us not forget about giving and receiving presents, visiting Santa with the children and opening up our doors everyday on our advent calendars.
However, not all of us find Christmas a happy period and some of us will be dreading Christmas for the rest of the year.
The season can be a hard time for us for many different reasons. It may be the stress of money, missing loved ones or having to attend parties out of your comfort zone. There are also many other reasons that could play a part in the struggle.
People already suffering with depression, anxiety and stress, may find it difficult to deal with the period due to seeing those around them happy and seeing it as a constant reminder that they should also be happy. The anxiety and stress from all the festive parties and planning to do for the magical day may be overwhelming also. There are many different factors that play a part in why our mental health can be affected at Christmas time. They could be general reasons or personal reasons to the individual. Although, this does not mean that you have to suffer over Christmas. There are many tips and help lines that can help you get through the season.
1. Eat well
At Christmas, many of us may overindulge with all the tempting food around us. However, what you eat and how much you eat can have affect on our moods. Enjoy your yummy treats, but keep it in proportion so you stay healthy.
2. Keep active
The cold weather and short days are not the most motivating factors to get us up and moving. A lot of us will just want to hide away in the warmth. Although, keeping active is essential to benefit your mind as it has been proven that exercise releases a chemical in the body that can help us to feel good.
3. Don’t over-do on the alcohol
Alcohol is nearly everywhere over Christmas. Many of us will want to have a drink to celebrate, whether it be at a party or a beverage in front of the television, although it is important to remember that alcohol is a depressant. Some of us may want to drink alcohol as a coping method for feeling bad, but it is essential to know that it is only temporary and may possibly lead to you feeling worse.
4. Do something you are good at
By doing something you are good at, you will more than likely find enjoyment in it. Pick something you love doing and spend time getting lost in the activity, as a reminder to yourself that you are good at activities and you are allowed to have fun. Finding the motivation to do so may be difficult, but try to build yourself up to it.
5. Sleep enough
Christmas can be a busy time of the year where many of us may disrupt our sleeping patterns. It is important to find the time to get enough rest, which a healthy amount is seven to nine hours of sleep. If you are struggling to sleep, visit your GP and seek help.
6. Connect with others and ask for help
Communicating with others may be one of the last things that people want to do over Christmas. However, it is important to connect with others, especially those that understand and support you. Speaking out is a way to share a problem and a problem shared is a problem halved. If you have no one close to you to speak to, there are help lines available to contact people. You are never alone.
7. Set yourself a budget
Set yourself a budget. This way you can plan how much you want to spend to decrease the stress levels of over spending. Christmas does not mean you have to spend tons of money, it is the thought that counts, not the figures.
Make a schedule and plan a head. If you have a plan set in place, you may find yourself less anxious about everything that is going on around you. Instead of cramming everything into a few days, spread it out little by little so there feels like less to do in a bigger space of time.
For 24/7 help, you can contact the Samaritans via calling 116 123 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
You can contact Mind In Salford here – https://www.mindinsalford.org.uk/contact-us/
You can find a list of other helplines available here.
Other images belong to Beckie Bold.