Mental health tips for the festive season

December 12, 2019

Mental health tips for the festive season

While the festive season is designed to bring feelings of joy and happiness, this time of year can be very difficult for many people. The festive season can bring with it feelings of sadness, anxiety, stress, grief and depression for some members of the community.
It is important to look after yourself and those around you during this season so we wanted to share some tips on how you can look out for your friends and family and how you can take good care of yourself during this time.

1. Being present vs Buying presents
The pressure to purchase beyond your means can be overwhelming during the festive season and while it is nice to be able to give a gift, it is important to remember that your friends and family do not want you to go into financial stress in order to buy gifts.
If you would like to give a gift you could give something low cost, a home-made gift, and home-made vouchers for a coffee date or bringing a share-plate of food. Giving these types of gifts can ease some anxiety during the holiday season, they can also be a lot of fun to plan.

2. Take time out to breathe
Big gatherings can be stressful and the pressure to be happy and bubbly during festive gatherings can be exhausting for some people.
If you are beginning to feel overwhelmed, taking a break away from the crowd can be helpful. Try to breathe in for 5 seconds, hold for 3 seconds and slowly breathe out. Repeat this until you start to feel at ease.
After a while you will feel refreshed and may be able to join back in when you are ready. You could also try going for a walk or making sure you still get some regular exercise in the lead up to gatherings to clear your mind and ease pre-party social anxieties.

3. Moderation is key
It is tempting to overindulge during the holiday season but it is important to moderate your intake of food and alcohol. Over indulging can make you feel sluggish and unmotivated.
It is also important to keep in mind that alcohol can have an impact on mental health. Alcohol is one of Australia’s most widely used drug and is very popular during the festive season. Alcohol is also depressant which means that over consumption can impact your mental health and can influence decision making. So if you have been feeling low, avoiding or moderating your consumption of alcohol can help you to stay on track during the festive season.

4. Be kind to yourself too
It is very common to show kindness to others during the festive season… It is important to be kind to yourself too!
Many people find the Christmas season difficult and some may be experiencing heightened grief or loneliness during this time. It is ok to acknowledge your feelings during this season. Allow yourself to have low moments and be mindful of your emotions. It is ok to ask for help and support during this time. If you do not feel able to reach out to someone close to you like a family member or friend, you can contact a phone counselling service. The below services are open during the festive season including Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

For mental health support (depression, suicide, anxiety, psychosis, mental health crisis) phone:
Rural Link: 1800 552 002
Lifeline: 13 11 14

For Drug and Alcohol support phone:
Alcohol and Drug Support Line: 1800 198 024
Parent and Family Drug Support: 1800 653 203

Other services available:
Griefline: 1300 845 745
Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636
QLife: (LGBTI counselling and support) 1800 184 527
Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800

If you are in immediate danger please call 000

Please note: SWAMS is closed from 5pm, 20th December and return to usual business hours on 6th January.

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