With Christmas fast approaching, I wanted to share some helpful advice I have been given.
For a lot of people this time of year is a happy, exciting time, celebrating with friends and family, having a chance to unwind, chill out and relax, a time to eat, drink and be merry and celebrate the year that’s coming to an end.
However, for some people Christmas can be a difficult time of year for many different reasons. There can be pressure on finances, extra stress organising everything for the day, Christmas can trigger memories of love ones who are no longer with us which can revive feelings of loss and bereavement, for families where someone has an eating disorder the focus on food can be very difficult. For people who suffer with depression, the pressure to be cheerful, can be extremely difficult and isolating, intensify feelings of loneliness.
For me personally, I’ve found the run up extremely difficult. Unfortunately depression and anxiety doesn’t disappear for Christmas, it doesn’t just stop and go away in order to let you enjoy the festivities.
Below are some ways you can help yourself ….
- Aim to do at least one thing you enjoy each day or try a new activity maybe drawing, painting, writing or maybe try s new sport or hobby.
- Christmas can disturb your regular routines, try to plan your days to include some of your regular daily activities.
- Look after yourself: Watch alcohol consumption, try and eat healthy food, get enough sleep, sunlight and exercise. Need inspiration? Heres 101 self care ideas to help you take care of yourself.
- Be kind to yourself – It’s OK to have sad, angry or disappointed feelings about Christmas and what it brings up for you.
- Done allow catastrophic thinking to take over : Just because it’s like this now, doesn’t mean it always has to be; What are you in control of? What could be different? What resources do you have?
- Be aware of your triggers: Think about what may feel difficult for you from past experiences and plan ways to manage your response.
Remember you’re not alone: It may look like others are having a great time, but many are coping with difficulties of their own; what you see is not always the whole story.
Mental health helplines
Whether you’re concerned about yourself or a loved one, these helplines and support groups can offer expert advice.
Charity providing support if you’ve been diagnosed with an anxiety condition.
Phone: 03444 775 774 (Mon to Fri, 9.30am to 5.30pm)
A charity helping people living with manic depression or bipolar disorder.
CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, for men aged 15 to 35.
Phone: 0800 58 58 58 (daily, 5pm to midnight)
Men’s Health Forum
24/7 stress support for men by text, chat and email.
Mental Health Foundation
Provides information and support for anyone with mental health problems or learning disabilities.
Promotes the views and needs of people with mental health problems.
Phone: 0300 123 3393 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 6pm)
Voluntary charity offering support for sufferers of panic attacks and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Offers a course to help overcome your phobia/OCD. Includes a helpline.
Phone: 0844 967 4848 (daily, 10am to 10pm)
Support for people with OCD. Includes information on treatment and online resources.
Phone: 0845 390 6232 (Mon to Fri, 9.30am to 5pm)
A charity run by people with OCD, for people with OCD. Includes facts, news and treatments.
Phone: 0845 120 3778 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 5pm)
Young suicide prevention society.
Phone: HOPElineUK 0800 068 4141 (Mon to Fri,10am to 5pm & 7 to 10pm. Weekends 2 to 5pm)
Rethink Mental Illness
Support and advice for people living with mental illness.
Phone: 0300 5000 927 (Mon to Fri, 9.30am to 4pm)
Confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair.
Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline)
Emotional support, information and guidance for people affected by mental illness, their families and carers.
SANEline: 0300 304 7000 (daily, 4.30 to 10.30pm)
Textcare: comfort and care via text message, sent when the person needs it most: http://www.sane.org.uk/textcare
Peer support forum: http://www.sane.org.uk/supportforum
Information on child and adolescent mental health. Services for parents and professionals.
Phone: Parents’ helpline 0808 802 5544 (Mon to Fri, 9.30am to 4pm)
Abuse (child, sexual, domestic violence)
Children’s charity dedicated to ending child abuse and child cruelty.
Phone: 0800 1111 for Childline for children (24-hour helpline)
0808 800 5000 for adults concerned about a child (24-hour helpline)
Advice on dealing with domestic violence.
Phone: 0808 2000 247 (24-hour helpline)
Addiction (drugs, alcohol, gambling)
Phone: 0845 769 7555 (24-hour helpline)
Phone: 0300 999 1212 (daily 10am to midnight)
Provides information on dementia, including factsheets and helplines.
Phone: 0300 222 1122 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 5pm. Weekends, 10am to 4pm)
Cruse Bereavement Care
Phone: 0844 477 9400 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 5pm)
To find your local services phone: 0808 802 9999 (daily, 12 to 2.30pm, 7 to 9.30pm)
Phone: 0808 168 9111 (24-hour helpline)
Phone: 0808 801 0677 (adults) or 0808 801 0711 (for under-18s)
Charity working with people with a learning disability, their families and carers.
Phone: 0808 808 1111 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 5pm)
Advice on all aspects of parenting including dealing with bullying.
Phone: 0808 800 2222 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 9pm. Sat to Sun, 10am to 3pm)
The UK’s largest provider of relationship support.