The festive time of year is different for everyone. For some, it is an important time for them to focus on their faith and observe Buddhi, Yule, Umoja, Chanukah, Kujichagulia or Christmas. For others, it’s a time of year when they focus on taking a break from work and spending more time with family and friends. But what is similar for most people is that we experience pressure to make sure everything is ‘perfect’ which comes with pressure, strain, and expenses.
It’s important that as we are getting ready for the festive season, we take time to focus on what is important and plan to make sure we look after our wellbeing during this time.
Steps to successful self-care this season
1. Be gentle with yourself – it’s okay to prioritise what’s best for you, even if others don’t seem to understand. Think about your needs and make sure you have someone you trust available to call or talk to if you need support.
2. Plan ahead – Think about what you may find difficult or triggering and write down if there is anything that will help you cope. Are there times you can take breaks, is there anything you can do to be more comfortable in a group of people? Try to plan to do some nice things so you know you have breaks and things to look forward to.
3. Manage relationships – If people may ask difficult questions, you could plan your answers in advance. Think about how you might end difficult discussions. Suggest activities to help people spend time together with a focus on something to do. Think about sharing with people if you don’t think they are understanding how you are feeling, you could do this by writing it down if it’s easier for you.
4. Look after yourself – Set boundaries, you can say no to anything that is going to affect you badly. Let yourself experience your own feelings, even if you are expecting to feel happy and don’t. Let yourself have what you need, if you need breaks or space that is ok.
5. Talking to other people – Let people know if you are struggling. Tell people how they can help you.
6. Get support – There are a few options available if you are struggling with your mental health this Christmas.
- Oxfordshire Mind Information Line 01865 247 788 (Monday – Thursday 9.30 to 4.30, Friday 9.30 to 4.00)
- Oxfordshire Safe Haven 01865 903 037 (11.30am to 9.30pm)
- Samaritans 116 123
- Campaign Against Living Miserably 0800 58 58 58 (5pm to Midnight)
- The Mix 0808 808 4994 (For under 25’s 4pm to 11pm)
- CAMHS NHS for children’s mental health helpline 111
Breathing exercises are a good way to take a break and practice self-check-ins and meditation.