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Loneliness can be a big problem for some people at Christmas

Looking after your mental health this Christmas

by Jonathan Kearney

Whether or not you celebrate Christmas your mental health may be particularly affected around this time of year.

The additional pressures of the festive season can be stressful for many people but especially for those who already struggle with their mental health.

The Mind mental health website has great tips for coping during Christmas, which includes information about self-care and the importance of prioritising your own wellbeing.

It also includes suggestions about supporting others at this time, highlighting how everyone has different experiences of Christmas.

Here’s some useful tips:

Talk about your feelings – when you’re upset, worried or feeling down it can help to talk to family or friends. If you know someone who may be struggling, encourage them to talk. The Samaritans are available 24/7 for anyone who needs to talk by calling 116 123 for free.

Keep in touch with others – but stick to the government guidelines. If you’re feeling under pressure from friends or family to break the rules, remember why there are restrictions. It is for everyone’s safety. Keep in touch via phone call, video call or sending a message instead.
Accept what you can’t control  – If you’re feeling overwhelmed or struggling with feelings of uncertainty,  try to focus your attention on the positive, those simple things that happen day to day which can help make a difference to how we feel. Try as well to limit how often you check news updates or social media if these make you feel worse.

Make time – to look after yourself especially if you’re looking after others.  Go for a walk, do something that you enjoy.  If you can, you may wish to plan in some activities (within current restrictions) so you have something to look forward too.

Drink less alcohol – if you’re feeling low, alcohol can make you feel worse as it is a depressant. By limiting the amount you drink will also help you sleep better and may help improve your mood.

Ask for help – If problems with your mental health aren’t going away and are affecting your daily life or causing you distress, talk to your GP they will be able to refer you on for specialist support.

Cllr Sean Donnelly, Knowsley Council Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, said: “Christmas can be hard for many people. They may have a perception that everyone else is enjoying themselves, have lost loved ones at this time of year or they may just be struggling with their mental health after what has been a challenging year for everyone. If you know someone who may be alone or not having a good time of it please take time to reach out to them and offer your support.”

Useful contacts

Kind to Your Mind was developed for people who live or work in Cheshire and Merseyside and offers a range of useful resources to support your mental health and wellbeing.

24/7 urgent mental health crisis support – helpline number for people in need of urgent mental health support – 0800 051 1508.

Samaritans are available 24/7 for anyone who needs to talk by calling 116 123 for free.

TEXT “SHOUT” to 87258 for free, confidential, anonymous support 24/7 via text message.

The Silver Line is a helpline for older people to access information, friendship and advice, 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Call 0800 4 70 80 90

Kooth provides free online support for young people in Knowsley aged between 10 – 19 years old. you can get advice on a range of topics developed by young people themselves, chat to the friendly Kooth community or speak to a member of the Kooth team.