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Counsellor tips for looking after your mental health and wellbeing over Christmas

Christmas may be something you look forward to, or it may be a time of year you find a bit tough.

Our counsellors have put together some tips for looking after your mental health and wellbeing over Christmas.

 

Tips for looking after yourself at Christmas

  • Set a ‘start’ and ‘finish’ time for what you count as Christmas. Remind yourself that it won’t last forever.
  • Set your boundaries. Say no to things that aren’t helpful for you.
  • Let yourself experience your own feelings. Even if they don’t match what’s going on around you, they’re still real and valid.
  • Take time out. Do something to forget that it’s Christmas or distract yourself. For example, you could watch a film or read a book that’s set in the summer. Or you could try learning a new skill.
  • Allow yourself to have the things you need. For example, if you need to take time out instead of doing an activity.
  • If you can’t avoid something difficult, plan something for yourself afterwards to help reduce the stress or distress you might feel.

Planning ahead can be useful

  • If you sometimes experience flashbacks, panic attacks or dissociation, make a note of what helps during these moments, and keep it with you.
  • If you’re going to be somewhere unfamiliar for Christmas, think about what you need to help you cope. Are there things you can bring to make you feel more comfortable? Or is there somewhere you can go to take a break?
  • Certain places may feel very uncomfortable for you, for example, if they bring back difficult memories. Could you plan to spend less time in difficult places, or not go at all? Are there any reasonable excuses for you to stay away?
  • Think about whether you really need to do things if you’re not looking forward to them. Can you do them differently or for less time?
  • Make a list of any services that you might need and their Christmas opening hours. There are some useful contacts at the end of this page.
  • If you’re worried about feeling lonely or isolated this Christmas, think about some activities to help pass the time. For example, this might be doing something creative or spending time in nature.
  • Try to plan something nice to do after Christmas. Having something to look forward to next year could make a real difference.

Useful contacts

C.A.L.L. Helpline

Call 0800 132 737, or text help to 81066 24/7. Mental Health Helpline For Wales Community Advice & Listening Line Offering a confidential listening and support service

Live Fear Free

Call 0808 801 0800, text 07860 077 333, email info@livefearfreehelpline.wales or live chat. If you, a family member a friend, or someone you are concerned about has experienced domestic abuse or sexual violence, you can contact the Live Fear Free Helpline 24 hours a day 7 days a week, for free advice and support or to talk through your options.

Frank Phone

Call 0300 123 6600 (24-hour helpline) Text a question to 82111. Free, confidential information and advice about drugs, their effects and the law. FRANK’s live chat service runs daily from 2pm to 6pm. Website: https://www.talktofrank.com/

Papyrus Hopeline

Call 0800 068 41 41. Available 9am-12am every day, for children and young people under the age of 35 who are experiencing thoughts of suicide, or anyone concerned that a young person could be thinking about suicide.

Samaritans

Call 116 123. Available 24/7.

Shout text service

Text SHOUT to 85258. This 24/7 service offers support for abuse, anxiety, bullying, depression, loneliness, self-harm, suicide.

The Mix Crisis Messenger

Text THEMIX to 85258. 24/7 crisis support for those 25 or under.

The No Panic Helpline

Call 0300 772 9844. The helpline is open from 10am until 10pm. During the night a recorded breathing exercise is played that can help you through a panic attack.

The Silver Line

Call 0800 470 80 90. Available 24/7 for older people – this helpline is not for crisis support but it can offer conversation and friendship, they can also refer individuals on to receive regular friendship calls.