With the November lockdown and plans for Christmas 2020 uncertain, we know that your mental health and wellbeing may be struggling in the run up to the big day. A recent survey from the Office of National Statistics revealed that 60% of adults are feeling stressed and anxious, while almost half said their wellbeing was affected.
Using our 7 Ways To Wellbeing inspired by the NHS Every Mind Matters campaign, we have come up with 7 ways you can help improve your wellbeing this holiday season:
Learning can have a positive impact on our self-confidence and helps boost opportunities and horizons for us, so while our social lives might not be as active as usual, this is a great opportunity to use your spare time to learn a new skill or put a new skill you gained this year to use.
Why not get creative and make your Christmas presents this year? Handmade gifts are something unique and personal as well as cost effective.
You can find plenty of online tutorials for arts and craft on YouTube.
This year has shown the power of volunteering and the joy of helping others. Christmas often makes us think of those less fortunate or how we can help our community. There are plenty of ways to support others and give back this season.
One of the easiest ways you could make a difference is by giving an older relative or friend a call, it’s a great opportunity to catch up and for those that live alone, it might be the only conversation they have that day. While many of us interact online, don’t forget people who may not have internet access and remember to reach out.
You could also volunteer your time to a befriending service and speak to people that are socially isolated or lonely. Your time could make the world of difference.
Another way you can help is by donating to your local foodbank. They will usually list their most needed items on their website and most supermarkets supply a drop off point so you can just add extra items to your basket for donation.
Finally, support small and local businesses, this year has been tough for retailers so why not seek out independent businesses in your area.
While the usual Christmas parties and catch-ups may be off the calendar this year, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on catching up with friends, family and colleagues. If there is one thing we have all experienced this year it is the power of video calling!
So why not organise a virtual party or catch-up and enjoy a party from home – you can play games, quizzes or just chat! Staying in is the new going out!
For family and friends offline, why not embrace a lost art and write them a handwritten letter or Christmas card catching them up on your life and asking them about theirs. There is nothing quite as special as a handwritten letter in these modern times!
Focus on the Present – Not Presents!
It is so easy to get caught up on presents, stressing about buying the right thing or buying lots of presents, but if we have learnt one thing this year it’s about spending time with loved ones. Why not agree to give just one gift this year or organise a Secret Santa to cut out the stress. You could even create a pact with others to not give gifts if you just give them because the other is.
Why not look in charity shops when Christmas shopping? They have been overwhelmed with donations this year from lockdown clear-outs, so you might just find some hidden treasure!
If you are struggling at the moment, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Christmas can be a difficult time for people and even more so with the November lockdown. Speak to trusted family or friends or explore our mental health advice and support service information online. Click here to visit our Mental Wellbeing page.
If you are struggling with your mental health, speak to your GP or call 111 for out of hours care.
If you are having a mental health crisis or feel suicidal, call the Samaritans on 116 123.
If you have seriously harmed yourself – for example, by taking a drug overdose – call 999 for an ambulance or go straight to A&E.
If you find Christmas difficult or will be alone this year, #JoinIn on Twitter is a great way to find an online community and feel part of something. It runs every Christmas Day and was started by comedian Sarah Millican in 2011.
Sleep is something we can sometimes take for granted, but it is so important for our mental health. Good quality sleep makes a big difference to how we feel, so it’s important to get enough.
So keep the same routine, get up at the same time as normal. Try to maintain your regular sleeping pattern and stick to good sleep practices. Use the time off over Christmas to help get yourself into a sleep routine.
Simple things that can help with sleep is avoiding screens for around an hour before you sleep, wind down with a bath, reading a book or listening to relaxing music or a sleep/relaxation guided meditation.
If your mind buzzes with thoughts before bedtime, keep a notebook by your bed and write down what’s on your mind.
Many of us are guilty of overindulging over Christmas, which is why many of us can’t wait to launch into a healthy routine come January 1st!
During lockdown and over Christmas, don’t forget to stay active and try to maintain exercise and a healthy diet. Why not go for a post-dinner Christmas walk, it’s a good way to aid digestion and avoid heartburn.
If you’re fed up of being at home and have not been advised to self-isolate, then get out for a walk. You don’t have to be going anywhere, walk around your local park or neighbourhood or look up the many public footpaths across Essex and get exploring. It’s an easy and accessible way to keep active.