Christmas can be a wonderful time of year but it can also be one of the most stressful. If you are affected by a mental health problem then the run up to Christmas can be a lonely experience… just remember you’re not alone.
1. Plan ahead
If you’re worried about being alone, find out what is going on in your area. Here are some details of local services but do also check local newspapers and the internet to find out what community events are going on. Also see whether there is a good day or time to visit relatives.
If you are worried about having too much to do over Christmas, think ahead about which events you want to go to and which you will be able to make your apologies for.
2. Don’t be afraid to talk
You may be feeling sad and tired but you probably still look the same to those around you. Unless you tell people how you are feeling they won’t understand what is wrong. Those close to you will want to help.
If you don’t feel you have anyone to talk to, find out about your nearest self-help group and think about calling a helpline number. The symptoms of mental illness can make you want to hide away but talking to others can really help.
3. Watch what you drink
Drinking and eating is all part of Christmas. Whilst one or two drinks may help you relax and cheer you up, too much alcohol may make your symptoms worse and/or stop medication working properly.
4. Don’t let pressure build up
Christmas can be a stressful time when you are under pressure to spend money, clear the desk at work and engage in the usual round of parties. Accept that you can’t do everything. Saying ‘no’ might be hard but most of us feel similar pressures and will understand. Ask for help if you need it – it will keep you healthy.
If you feel you have reached crisis point then you can visit your local A&E. You may also wish to contact one of the helpline numbers that we’ve listed here.
5. Avoid the New Year resolution trap
The end of the year can be a time of regret and a time for making promises that you may not keep. Don’t fall into the trap! Really look at the previous year and write down all the positive things that have happened and all of your successes.
And finally, remember that SMART will be open throughout the festive period and everyone is welcome.
We hope you all have a wonderful, happy and healthy Christmas.