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Tips To Look After Your Mental Health This Christmas Holiday Season

For some, the holiday period is a time of joy while for others, it can be a time of grief, loneliness and mental health issues.

This time of year can be difficult for those who are struggling whether you celebrate Christmas or not. Feelings of being overwhelmed, being lonely or stress from a difficult year can all culminate over the Christmas holiday period.

Sometimes, it can be harder to access services that you normally have in place or your usual routine may be disrupted which can make it harder to manage your mental health. It might be that there are financial pressures which are harder to cope with at this time of year or difficult family relationships might be an issue. We have some tips to help you work through these situations.

1. Financial issues

  • make sure you are claiming any extra money or support that you are entitled to
  • make a budget and track your spending (for information on budgeting, click here)
  • separate necessary expenses from uneccessary ones
  • see where you can save and start a savings plan
  • if you're in crisis or struggling to make ends meet click here
  • be open with others and don't be afraid to ask for help

2. Be realistic about what you can and can't take on
Set boundaries that you are comfortable with. Saying no to things you don't want to do is empowering and will allow you to focus on things you do want to do. The more stresses you remove, the more space you will have to enjoy the time.

3. Limit alcohol, don't overindulge, stay active
To feel your best over the holiday period, it is important not to drink to excess. Alcohol is a depressent and can increase feelings of anxiety and stress. Too much alcohol can limit clear thinking and good judgement and whilst it is okay to enjoy the occasional drink, make sure you stay within safe limits. It is the same with sugary, fatty food. Too much can make you feel unwell and lethargic. Make sure you eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meat and lots of water. Keep up some exercise, it is great for your physical and mental well being.

4. Be accepting about difficult relationships
Relationships with family and friends can be complicated and it is important, at this time of year, to not have unrealistic expectations. Try to avoid arguments and contentious topics, instead focus on kindness and patience.

5. Do something kind for others
Remember that the holiday period is not just about presents. Small acts of kindness can show loved ones how much you care and can give you a sense of satisfaction and well being far beyond any material things.

6. Take time for rest
Make sure you take time out to rest and recuperate. Spending just 15 minutes alone doing an activity you enjoy can do wonders for stress. Take a walk, read a book, listen to music or have a nap - it will help you clear your mind and allow you to reset.

7. Reach out
If you are feeling lonely or isolated, seek out services that can offer support and companionship. Many councils and community centres have websites and support groups and may even be running community events.

8. If you are dealing with grief or loss, acknowledge your loss in a way that is right for you
Many people have lost loved ones and this time of year can be very difficult. Make sure you acknowledge your feelings and share your feelings with others so they can provide support.

9. Practice gratitude
Remembering all of the good things in your life can do amazing things to improve mood and reduce stress. Taking 5 minutes each morning to notice the great things in your life is the perfect way to start the day on a positive note.

10. Get help if you need it
There are many ways you can get help over the holiday period. Organisations that can assist include:
Beyond Blue
Mental Health Australia

To become a care or support worker, please visit www.careseekers.com.au/carer

To find aged care services, please visit www.careseekers.com.au/services/aged-care-workers

To find disability support services, please visit www.careseekers.com.au/services/disability-support-workers

To make a referral, please visit https://www.careseekers.com.au/referrals