Tips For Coping This Christmas
Christmas can be a difficult time of year for many different reasons, so we have come up with some useful tips to help you cope over the festive period.
Some of these tips may not feel very helpful or relevant right now – but different things can happen at different times, and it is all dependent on our situations and how we are feeling. Try some different things and see what works best for you and your wellbeing. What works for you might not work for someone else, the most important thing to remember is to be kind, and you are not alone.
This year more than ever with the cost of living crisis, people are struggling with the financial pressures of day to day life, never mind for Christmas. This can be especially difficult and draining on your mental health and emotional wellbeing. These tips may not be suitable to your situation, but it may help to consider some of these options:
- Access Support – Make sure you are claiming any extra support and income that you are entitled to. If you are not sure of your entitlements – please contact Citizens Advice or LivingWell Community Champions who can support you with housing, debt and benefit support.
- Make Lists/Plan Ahead – Jotting things down can sometimes take the weight off and make things more manageable. Creating budget plans can also help you feel
- more in control of your finances.
- Be Honest & Open – It can be hard to talk about money, especially to those who don’t appear to be struggling. But being honest with others can help! You may be able to agree on ways you can make Christmas plans for free or at a lower cost. To find things you can do in the Rochdale Borough for free or low cost, all year round, please visit Rochdale Borough Councils “Things to do on a budget” page.
- Look Locally – Local organisations, charities and community centers usually hold free or low-cost events in the run up to Christmas, and can often offer support with things like gifts and food. You can search for local events in the Rochdale area here
Looking After Yourself
Sometimes looking after yourself at Christmas feels selfish, but it is absolutely vital that you put your own mental health and wellbeing first when you are feeling low. Avoiding festivities isn’t always possible, so if you really can’t get out of something you are not looking forward to, then try and plan something for yourself afterwards so you have something to look forward to, this can help reduce any stress and uncomfortableness you may feel about the day.
- Be Kind – It might help to think about what is best for your wellbeing this Christmas and prioritise your needs above everything else.
- Remind yourself that it won’t last – It may help to set a start and an end time for what you count as Christmas.
- Set boundaries – Say no to the things that are not helpful to you and that do not benefit your mental wellbeing.
- Take time out – Do something to forget that it is Christmas or distract yourself. One example could be reading a book or watching a film that is set in the summer. Or you could take this time to learn a new skill.
Planning ahead can be the first step into changing your mindset about uncomfortable settings. Here are a few tips that may help you to cope.
- Flashbacks, panic attacks or dissociation – You could try and make note of what helps during these moments and keep these with you so you are ready in the event of an escalation.
- Unfamiliarity – Think about what you may need to cope. Is there something you can bring that makes you more comfortable? Or is there somewhere you can go to calm down when it gets overwhelming?
- Feeling uncomfortable – Some places may just be uncomfortable because they bring back memories. Could you spend less time in these places, or even not go at all? Think about whether you REALLY need to do these things if you are not looking forward to doing them. Can you do them differently or for less time?
- Lonely & isolated – If you are worried about being lonely and isolated, think of some ways to pass the time. Could you do something creative, or spend time in nature? Or maybe you are in hospital or a care setting, you could see what activities are running over Christmas and see if there is anything you might like to take part in. If you can’t be with your loved ones this Christmas, then could you arrange a phone call or video call to catch up with them on Christmas Day?
- Plan to the new year – Sometimes having something to look forward to in the new year makes a real difference in how you approach Christmas if you are not looking forward to it in the first place. Maybe plan a trip, or a day out to see friends/family, or even just take time for yourself doing something you love.
If you are struggling this Christmas, you may want to find support for your mental health and emotional wellbeing. There are a few ways you can do this:
- Ring our Infoline – Speak directly to Rochdale and District Mind staff on 01706 752 338 (We are closed Christmas Day and public holidays)
- Listening Lounge Drop In – Our Listening Lounge are free drop-in services where you can come and access direct support from our wellbeing staff for your mental health. They can help you fill in a referral form, access support and be an ear to listen when you need to talk to someone. For times and dates of the drop-in, please see our timetable of events on our website.
- Rochdale Urgent Care – Previously the Accident and Emergency Department – They will have a mental health professional on duty to arrange an assessment for those in crisis and needing urgent help.
- Samaritans – Provide confidential and non-judgmental support 24/7 for those experiencing feelings of distress and despair, including those who are suicidal. Call 116 123 free of charge.
We wish you all the best for the festive period and a happy and healthy new year!
Posted on: 20th December 2022