With the extra pressure that the festive season can bring, our worries and fears may seem worse this time of year. It's important you check in on yourself and look after your wellbeing.
No matter how or if you celebrate, it is normal that this time of year can affect your mental health. You may be feeling like you aren’t enjoying the things you usually do this time of year. You may be worried about friends and family or other things happening in the world. You are not alone. There are all sorts of reasons you might find this time of year difficult and that’s OK.
At Samaritans, we’re committed to helping you, however we can. If you don’t feel like there’s anyone you can talk to, our volunteers are here for you. Call free, day or night, on 116 123 or email [email protected]
In case it’s helpful, we have gathered some tips and resources to help you cope this festive season.
Take time for yourself
- Pay attention to how you are feeling. Our self-help web app can help you track your mood and includes practical tips and techniques to help you look after your emotional health.
- Make time for something you enjoy. It could be doing something creative, watching a favourite movie, or wrapping up warm and spending time outdoors. If you’re active online, making time for other activities can help you to take a break from the news or social media. If you find it hard to stay offline, try switching off your notifications or leaving your phone in another room for a few hours.
- Remember it’s OK to say no. You don’t have to take part in things that might be difficult for you, whether they’re online or in person.
- Think about the things that you might find difficult about this time of year. Are there things you can do that might help you cope? Are there things it would be helpful for you to avoid? Our self-help web app includes techniques to help you identify what you can and cannot change about things that are troubling you. Writing these down or sharing your concerns with someone you trust can be a helpful step.
- If you can, try to have conversations with friends or family about everyone’s expectations of any celebrations well in advance. Be honest about how you want to spend the holidays.
- It can be hard to reach out if the people around you seem happy when you don’t. Talking to a trusted friend or family member is something we’d encourage you to try, however you can. Talking about how you’re feeling can help put things into perspective and may help you feel more positive.
- If you don’t have family or friends close by or don’t feel like there’s anyone you can talk to, you are never alone. Samaritans volunteers are here for you every day of the year, round the clock.
Try a relaxation exercise
Sometimes something simple like controlled breathing can help us feel calmer. Muscle relaxation exercises can also help reduce feelings of stress or anxiety.
If you can, find a quiet space and try to breathe along to the exercises below. It's easy to memorise and can be practised almost anywhere.
If you’re finding things hard this Christmas
If you’re worried about someone else
- If you’re worried about someone else this Christmas, we’ve put together some advice to help you support others this holiday season.
If you’re spending the holiday season alone
- Mind have some tips and suggestions for managing feelings of loneliness
Coping over the winter months
- If you’re finding things hard this winter, we’ve gathered some tips and resources to help you cope.
- Happiful have advice on how to tackle the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
- Age UK also have some advice on how to keep well during winter
If you have lost a friend or family member
- Cruse has advice on coping with grief at Christmas
- Child Bereavement UK also has some guidance on managing Christmas and other special occasions
If you’re worried about your finances
- Step Change have shared some insights on how to cope with financial pressure over Christmas
- Age UK have some advice to help you manage your money in winter
- Every Mind Matters have some tips for coping with money worries and job uncertainty
Page updated: 3 December 2021