As the festive season approaches many people feel excited, but many will struggle with their mental health at Christmas time.
You may be looking forward to spending time with family and friends, dressing up, enjoying delicious food and a fun social life.
This is especially important after the struggles of last year when gatherings were severely limited.
But for many, Christmas is one of the hardest times of the year.
Over half of UK adults worry about the mental health of someone they know at Christmas, according to a survey by the Mental Health Foundation.
Christmas is traditionally a time for joy. If you are struggling with your mental health, it can be very difficult to ask for help. Sharing how you feel can be challenging, whether you’re surrounded by family or on your own.
Whether it’s you or someone you care about, sharing these kindness tips could help make a difference:
Reach out to others
Reach out to someone who might be experiencing isolation or loneliness. Loneliness is associated with an increased risk of mental health problems including depression, anxiety and increased stress.
Arrange a phone call, video chat or send a card to help combat the loneliness. It could make a big difference to how someone is feeling
Feeling grateful, particularly in response to someone else’s kindness, is associated with greater wellbeing. It also benefits others. Take a moment to reflect on the small acts of kindness you have received in the past. Do they make you feel a little bit more positive. Try writing them down as a reminder. By thanking someone you’ll give them a boost too.
Be kind to yourself
In the Mental Health Foundation’s nationwide Kindness survey, only two in five (41%) people in the UK said that they actively made time to be kind to themselves.
If things are hard right now, prioritise some “me” time, so you can relax and reflect on how you’re feeling and how your day or week has been so far.
Whether it’s cooking a special meal or decorating the house, by maintaining these traditions you can provide an act of kindness to yourself and people close to you.
If you get overwhelmed, don’t think further than the hour you are in. Don’t plan too far ahead – embrace the now, do something, however small, that gives you pleasure.
Think about alternative gifts
Making time to call someone who might be alone or writing a heartfelt message in a card is a thoughtful gift at this time of year.
Buy yourself a special gift – wrap it up, put it under the tree and enjoy opening it on Christmas Day.
Watch your favourite film! (And if you want to avoid a Christmas film, give “Die Hard” a go!)
Remember, no matter how hard Christmas feels, it’s important to remember that you are not alone!
If you or someone close to you is in distress or despair, please get in touch with The Samaritans on 116 123. Never feel alone!