Staff blog: Mental Health at Christmas

Image reads: Breathe

by Ed Peston, Communications Assistant, Inclusion Barnet

Christmas is meant to be enjoyed, but it can be a difficult time of year for those of us that are struggling for one reason or another, whether it be with mental health, physical health, general life circumstances, or all three, particularly if you are isolated.

Since the pandemic started, having a totally “normal” Christmas is difficult for anyone. And past experience tells us that restrictions or regulations may change at short notice.

In recognition of the above, I decided to put together some ideas and resources for how best to cope with the aspects of this time of year that we may find challenging.

Online communities and podcasts

If I’m feeling isolated, I find that sometimes exploring an interest I have in a new way or reaching out to others in a similar situation can help me to feel better and less alone.

Online communities and podcasts can be good for this.

For some examples, I’ve listed below resources that represent interests of mine. If you would like to find something that relates to your hobbies, a simple search online can yield some new ways of developing your interests, often involving others.

Online support groups

Writing communities

Classical music forum

Photography podcasts

Food podcasts

Favourite things

I’ve found that during the pandemic I revisited many favourite books and films that I hadn’t experienced for a long time, and doing so made me feel better. This might be worth a try if you are looking for a way to take you back to better times and hopefully feel better.

Writing

Another technique I’ve found useful is to write down my thoughts. This can help me to put things in perspective and I usually don’t worry as much after having done this.

Saying no to something

On the other hand, some may be feeling overwhelmed with too many seasonal commitments to fulfil. One piece of advice from an IB member of staff is that it is OK to say no to something if you are feeling it is all too much, whether physically or emotionally, or if something is not right for you.

Helping others if you can

Doing something for someone else, if you have the capacity to do so, can also help you to feel better, whether it be doing shopping for a housebound neighbour, or doing some virtual volunteering for example.

Here are some ideas:-

Volunteering from home

If you’re going through a crisis

The following will be operating every day:-

Samaritans (phone and email listening service)

Shout (support by text message)

BEH Crisis Line for a mental health crisis

Further resources

Mind Christmas page

Mental Health Foundation Christmas page

Shout Christmas page

Samaritans Christmas page

Best wishes,

From Ed.

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