Looking after your mental health and wellbeing at Christmas/New Year


Christmas celebrations may be something that you look forward to but it can also be a difficult time of year for those struggling with their mental health.  

Among all the fun and festivities, the festive season can be an overwhelming time and some people may find it difficult to talk about their mental health and about how they may be truly feeling over Christmas.  

Clinical Lead for General Adult Psychiatry in Angus Dr Chris Pell said, “We understand that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic means that it may be even more difficult for people to cope this year as they may be unable to see family and friends. The festive season can sometimes add increased pressure on those with mental health conditions. They may feel that there is a constant demand to feel happy during the Christmas holidays and they may struggle to tell people how they really feel.  

“It is very important for people to know that support is available and that no-one should ever feel afraid to ask for help. Mental health can affect everyone and people should know they do not need to suffer alone.”  

It’s important to care for your wellbeing and NHS Tayside has developed a social media campaign to highlight some tips to support your wellbeing over the festive season.  

Mental Health and Wellbeing Tips  

  • Try to stay active  

Being active isn’t just good for our physical health, it’s also proven to have a positive effect on our mental health and wellbeing. Physical activity releases endorphins, helping us relax and boosting our mood. Discover a physical activity that you enjoy – it doesn’t have to be a strenuous workout, you could go for a long walk, do some work in the garden or do some yoga. For ideas visit https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/ or www.pathsforall.org.uk or Get Out Get Active Tayside  

  • Take time for yourself  

The festive season can be overwhelming, and feeling under pressure can affect our wellbeing. Think about what helps you relax and make time to do something just for you. Visit www.clearyourhead.scot/ for advice and support.  

  • Try to get enough sleep  

Regularly getting a good night’s sleep is very important to good mental health. Around seven to eight hours is the average amount of sleep an adult needs for their body and mind to fully rest.  When you don’t get enough sleep, it can contribute to a range of problems, including depression and anxiety.  

  • Talk to others  

Staying in touch with loved ones can often help to lift our mood. This year being able to visit friends and family has been restricted due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic but you can try and connect in a different way:  

  • Take time to call a friend on the phone  
  • Arrange an online video call  
  • Write a card or letter to a loved one  
  • It’s okay to ask for help  

Simply sharing your feelings with someone can help you feel supported and less alone. Message a friend, phone someone you care about, chat to a family member, speak to your GP or speak to a local support organisation. If you need to talk to someone, you can call:  

Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87 – Weekdays: Monday – Thursday 6pm to 2am, Weekend: Friday 6pm – Monday 6am  

Samaritans on 116 123 – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year  

NHS 24 on 111  

  • Avoid excess alcohol and too much food  

If you tend to over indulge at Christmas, you’re not alone but it is important to remember that what we eat and drink can have a real impact on how we feel.  

Be mindful about what you are eating and drinking, and think about balance and moderation. View the Eat Well Guide for tips on eating a healthy diet and visit www.alcoholchange.org.uk to find ways to manage your drinking and look after your mental health.  


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