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Mental Health Tips for Christmas

Just like the saying “A dog is for life, not just for Christmas”; the same can be said for the below tips. These skills can be used for any challenging time, any day of the year, not just Christmas. Here are some ideas on how to take care of yourself during Christmas, and minimise getting too tangled up like this pug!

  1. Manage expectations – There can be a pressure to have things “perfect” – whether that be the perfect present, meal, outfit, Insta post. These expectations may create worry, stress, frustration, especially if they are not met. Be curious about your expectations and check in how helpful they are to you.
  2. Schedule in time for you – Christmas may be a break from usual routines, but it is important not to take a holiday from taking care of yourself. If anything, it is needed more during the holidays. Perhaps block out time for you – whether that be a walk, a pyjama day, even just a few minutes to breathe.
  3. Allow space for any loss – It’s ok to acknowledge the losses of the year, losses during past Christmases and perhaps losses of previous Christmas traditions. Whatever your experience is, there’s space for all emotions that come with it. It can be useful to find ways that support you to process these emotions too e.g. journaling, art, music, talking to a trusted friend.
  4. Boundaries – Choosing not to meet or hug friends/families, does not make you a bad person. You are allowed to say no. Take some time to recognise when your boundaries are crossed and how to communicate these effectively in a way that feels safe and ok for you. Often when boundaries are first set, it can feel scary. There may be a reaction or pushback so it is really important to take care of yourself while communicating your needs.
  5. Be mindful of your social media intake – It’s important to notice your relationship with social media especially around Christmas. Check in if your usage is helpful (staying connected to others, for learning, for fun) or unhelpful (increase feelings of anxiety, self-criticism, inadequacy, FOMO).
  6. Know that there’s support – It can be useful to know that there is support outside of your immediate family and friends. Some useful 24/7 numbers to know about:

Pieta House – 1800 247 247

Samaritans – 116 123

HELLO to 50808


7. Enjoy! – There can be enough tough moments in life. When the good moments come, you’re allowed to experience joy. Joy often comes in ordinary moments such as the warmth of a hot chocolate, a clear day, playing with a pet.

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