Christmas is typically a time for giving and receiving. It’s a time for love, friendship and celebration.
But for many, Christmas isn’t the season to be jolly. Instead, this Christmas will be rife with stress, anxiety and depression. Some may be experiencing their first Christmas without a loved one, others may be struggling to make ends meet.
There are a variety of reasons why many struggle to control or maintain their mental health over the festive season. I’ve been thinking lately about ways we can help others at Christmas, read the list below to find out more…
- Get talking – the feeling of loneliness is crippling at any time of year, but at Christmas that feeling is magnified. Make sure your family and friends know that you are available to chat, any time.
- Limit alcohol – what is Christmas without a festive tipple? It wouldn’t be Christmas without a glass of Bailey’s for me. Alcohol has the ability to relax an anxious mind, but let’s not forget it is also a depressant. Alcohol can cause an already fragile soul to become upset or aggressive. Not what you want whilst you’re slicing the turkey!
- Don’t over plan – being told what you are to be doing and when can be hugely overwhelming for anxiety sufferers. Taking a slightly more relaxed approach to Christmas can ease angst all round.
- Donate to the food bank – for those on a tight budget, the thought of Christmas is terrifying. Parent’s miss meals in order to feed their children and often pay for gifts using credit accounts that they then struggle to pay back in the New Year. Next time you are shopping, spare a few pounds, purchase non perishable food items and donate to your local food bank. It’s a simple gesture, but it could change someones Christmas completely.
- Offer a helping hand – the pressure of thinking everything should be ‘just so’ can be immense at this time of year. Offer help to those you feel may benefit, a simple act such as wrapping a few gifts or help with decorating can lift the lid on the bubbling pan of anxiety.
- Be indulgent, but mindful of food – we all love to gorge on rich, full fat foods over the Christmas period. There is nothing quite like the post dinner nap with a bloated belly full of turkey and all the trimmings. But does that bloated feeling make you feel good? I’m quite sure it doesn’t…
- Encourage the avoidance of busy areas – city centres are the stuff of nightmares at this time of year. Being surrounded by hundreds of people rushing around with the dull tones of ‘stop the cavalry’ in the background can send an anxious mind into overdrive and can cause an anxiety or panic attack. Perhaps suggest ordering last-minute gifts online or offer to nip to the shops instead..
- Get outdoors – exercise comes highly recommended for those suffering with depression or anxiety. Winter walks can be magical, especially in the snow!
- Suggest time out – do you want to help a friend who is a parent? Perhaps offer to amuse the children for a short while, time out to gather thoughts is vital at this time of year.
- Shift the focus – if your spending Christmas with children, make it all about them. This takes the pressure off anxious adults who may feel the limelight is on their Christmas pudding!
There are so many we can help others at Christmas, it doesn’t have to be in the form of grand gestures or huge gifts, simply showing you care is enough.
Do you suffer from mental illness? What help would you appreciate this Christmas? Let me know below.
Please, if your able, donate a few pounds to the Mind Christmas appeal. Mind are working tirelessly to ensure that nobody feels alone this Christmas.
You can find more Christmas tips such as Elf On The Shelf inspiration here on Just The Three Of Us.