21st December 2021
While we can struggle with our mental health at any time of the year, some of us find we struggle more than usual in the winter months – especially around Christmas and New Year.
ExpeerienceCounts Peer Support Worker Jim McEwan is sharing his own top ten tips on ways you can protect your wellbeing around this time of year.
- Be kind to yourself. Nothing needs to be perfect, even if it feels that way sometimes. Try to be less critical and celebrate even small successes.
- Keep connected to friends and family. If you are alone, then you might want to look into volunteering. Giving back and helping others can really make you and others feel good.
- Make time to enjoy winter walks. Being in the house for long periods can create tensions, especially if it’s crowded - we all need our own space. Try being mindful and in the moment when you go on a walk – a lot of people find being in nature very healing.
- Take care not to overindulge. There is nothing wrong with getting into the festive spirit, but if you are struggling with your mental health, sticking to healthier foods and drink can help.
- Avoid comparisons. Be aware of social media over the festive season. Remember, many people only share the best bits of their lives online and not the whole picture.
- Make sure you get enough rest. Christmas can be a stressful time. Getting plenty of sleep and rest can make a big difference to your general wellbeing.
- Enjoy some ‘Me’ time. Being surrounded by distant relatives combined with the stress leading up to the big day can take its toll. Try to find a small amount of time to do something just for you – anything from a long bath, to simply giving yourself some time to read a chapter of your favourite book can help you recharge.
- Avoid, if possible, people or places that have a negative effect on you. It’s ok, and possible, to say ‘no’ without being selfish - especially if you feel over-committing yourself could stretch you too thin.
- Tackle problems one-step at a time. Try not to let yourself feel overwhelmed – although it can feel like it sometimes, no problem is too big that it can’t be broken down into manageable chunks.
- Ensure you have medication to see you through the winter. Mark your diary/calendar for repeat prescriptions.
Thank you to Jim for sharing his thoughts on how to protect your winter wellbeing. For more resources on helping your mental health at this time of year, click here. You can also access the SAMH Information Service via samh.org.uk/info.