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Dublin: 7 °C Friday 23 March, 2018

Mind yourself this Christmas: How to care for your mental health during the holidays

Christmas can be stressful at the best of times. We’ve compiled some advice on how to make the holidays more relaxing.

Image: Pressmaster via Shutterstock

THE CHRISTMAS PERIOD can be an awfully stressful time for many people.

Between the family members you only see once a year, the financial pressures and the feeling that you have too much to do and not enough time to do it in, December can be a particularly difficult time.

It’s not unusual for people living with mental health conditions to feel overwhelmed by the festivities.

It’s also not all that unusual for people without one to feel overwhelmed either.

So many things that are part of our routines and we take for granted become disrupted by the change of pace in our lives during this month.

Leaving all your preparations for Christmas until the very last minute can cause unnecessary stress, so remember – planning ahead can save you time and money.

Making lists of jobs that still need to be done over the next two days and presents that actually need to be bought will help organise your thoughts.

90403756_90403756 Crowds of Shoppers doing their Christmas shopping on Grafton Street in Dublin Source: Sasko Lazarov via Rolling News

Mental Health Ireland has shared some tips on other ways we can be kind to ourselves this Christmas.

They include:

  • Be careful with the drink: Mental Health Ireland is reminding the public that alcohol is a depressant and, although it makes users feel relaxed, drinking large amounts can lead to low mood and irritability.
  • Get your head down: The festive period can throw our sleeping schedules out of sync as a result of our social lives. The advice is to try and stick to a regular sleeping pattern and get more exercise which will help you nod off.
  • Volunteer: Doing something good boosts your self-esteem, increases happiness and can even benefit your physical health. Helping out at a charity will get you out and about and talking to people.
  • Stay in touch with the people you love: While it may be difficult to see everyone over Christmas, picking up the phone and having a chat with a friend can seriously boost your mood. Make plans in the near future to do something with the people who weren’t able to see over the Christmas time.
  • Get some exercise: Christmas can be a time for gluttony but Mental Health Ireland say exercise is one of the best things someone can do to elevate their mood. Endorphins released during and after exercise relax us and make us feel happy.

If you’re feeling now and need to speak to someone, contact: 

  • Samaritans 116 123 or email (At hand 24/7)
  • Aware 1800 80 48 48 (depression, anxiety)
  • Pieta House 1800 247247 or email – (suicide, self-harm)
  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)
  • Childline 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)

Read: ‘The days are shorter – that can have quite a big impact on people’s mood’

More: ‘I was a rock ‘n’ roll roadie for 30 years. Nobody understood why I was suffering from depression’

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