Winter can be a difficult time for many people. Long periods of darkness, cold weather, isolation and the prospect of Christmas can have a negative impact upon people's mental health. There are things that you can do to help to keep yourself and those you care about safe and well during this time.
Your mental wellbeing is just as important as your physical health. Following these five ways to wellbeing can help to improve your mental health and wellbeing
Connect…with the people around you and invest time in developing relationship. Building these connections will support and enrich you every day.
Be active…exercising makes you feel good. Discover a physical activity you enjoy and that suits your level of mobility and fitness
Take notice… Savour the moment, whether you are walking to work, eating lunch or talking to friends. Reflecting on your experiences will help you to appreciate what matters
Keep learning...Set a challenge you will enjoy achieving. Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun
Give… Do something nice for a friend, or a stranger. Seeing yourself, and your happiness, linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you
Advice for people spending Christmas alone
Christmas can be stressful time for many different reasons. It can be hard for people who are going to be alone or for those who are going to be spending extended periods of time with family that they wouldn't usually see. Loneliness and isolation are often associated with Christmas and it is recognised that many people require additional help and support at this time of year.
Ten Christmas wellbeing tips:
Mind supporters and staff share 10 tips for a restful Christmas:
Try to be honest with people if you’re finding things overwhelming and you’re not feeling up to getting involved in everything. Don’t be afraid to cancel plans if you’re not feeling up to it. Sometimes you need to put yourself first.
2. Press pause
If you’re someone who has a tendency to take on too much, the demands of Christmas can make this even worse. Remember you can only do so much, stop if it’s becoming too much and just try to relax and look after yourself.
In between all the social arrangements, make sure you have a day to hang out at home in your pyjamas. Christmas is the season of hanging out in your pyjamas.
4. Get unstuck
Make sure you’re not too house-bound and spend all the time eating and drinking! A brisk walk outside is a nice way to spend time with loved ones, or a day trip somewhere. Things can get quite intense if you’re stuck in the house all the time, and a bit of exercise helps too.
5. Don’t believe the hype
Don't compare yourself and your Christmas with the representations of perfect Christmas moments on social media or on adverts. Remember that everyone is only sharing the good bits and that we don't know what is going on behind the scenes. Don't get sucked into measuring your experience against something that's ultimately fake.
6. Bed head
Give yourself a head start – try to go to bed early on Christmas Eve so you feel well-rested on the day itself.
If you are feeling overwhelmed or under pressure, talk to someone about it. If you are worried about how you might feel on the day, talk to someone else who will be there too so they can support you when needed during the festivities.
8. Plug yourself in
If you are staying in an overcrowded house with people going to the loo at all hours, make sure you take ear-plugs to maximise your chance of a decent night’s sleep.
9. Give yourself a prezzie
Make sure you take some time out after Christmas to do something you really want to do, no matter how small. Think about what you want to get out of the Christmas break; don’t feel like you have to do or be anything because it’s expected.
10. Be a volunteer
Many charities and organisations need help at Christmas and you could think about spending a few hours working as a volunteer. Visit our page at Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue for more information: http://www.manchesterfire.gov.uk/working_for_us/become_a_volunteer.aspx
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Need further advice and support?
If you are concerned about your own mental health or that of someone you care for make an appointment to see the GP.
The following organisations are also available for advice and support
ROSPA - Telephone 0121 248 2000 / www.rospa.com
Met Office - www.metoffice.gov.uk/learning/get-ready-for-winter
The Samaritans – Telephone 116 123 / www.samaritans.org
Mind, for better mental health - Telephone 0300 123 3393 / www.mind.org.uk
Alzheimers - Telephone 0845 300 0336 / www.alzheimers.org.uk
Age UK - Telephone 0800 169 6565 / www.ageuk.org.uk
NHS Direct - Telephone 0845 4647 / www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk
Princess Royal Trust for Carers - Telephone 0808 808 7777 / www.carers.org