NHS’s annual mental health report reveals over three million people in England were in contact with secondary mental health, learning disabilities and autism services at some point during the financial year 2021–2022.
With 992,647 people under 18 years of age, this is a 16.2% increase from the previous year.
Martin Preston, founder and chief executive at Private Rehab Clinic Delamere, has shared seven key ways to safeguard mental health during the festive season.
Prioritise time for yourself
With work Christmas parties and festive family gatherings soon to be in full swing, it can be quite difficult to make time for yourself.
As lovely as catching up with friends and family can be, constantly being surrounded by people may lead to feeling socially drained, especially if they’ve got any personal issues they are dealing with.
Therefore, it is important to strike a balance and ensure you are still allocating yourself some solid ‘me time’ during all the festive fun.
Immerse yourself in arts and crafts
Engaging in arts and crafts can positively affect your mental health from reducing stress levels to easing anxious thoughts.
Perhaps make some festive DIY Christmas decorations to feature in your home during the festive season. As well as the mental benefits this provides, you’ll be saved from spending your money on store-bought decorations.
During the festive season, it’s common for people to post about what they’re up to. For individuals who are spending Christmas alone or mourning the loss of a relative, seeing the upbeat festive content of others can be especially difficult.
What’s more, many fall into the habit of making comparisons through what they see on social media, and this leads to people not appreciating what they do have. With this in mind, taking a break from social media over Christmas may do wonders for your well-being.
Due to shorter days and nights, finding the motivation to stay active can be difficult. However, keeping fit is very important, especially if you struggle with your mental health over the festive period. Even something as little as walking in the fresh air daily will make you feel better.
Limit alcohol consumption
Delamere’s recent drug and alcohol survey found that one in twelve Brits confessed to using alcohol to diminish depressing thoughts. As we head into the festive season, it is expected that many people will continue to over-indulge in the booze – but doing this will have a negative impact on your well-being.
This is because heavy drinking interferes with brain chemicals that regulate mental health. While a drink may relax us, it’s important to know that overconsumption of alcohol can contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety in the long run.
Talk to loved ones
Whether they are near or far, always try to confide in loved ones if you are struggling. If the festive season is especially tough for you, make sure your friends and family know this.
For instance, you could inform them of certain triggers that have a negative impact on your mental health, so they can try their best to help you avoid these this Christmas. You’ll find that such a weight will be lifted by simply voicing your concerns, making you feel like you aren’t struggling alone.
Give back to the community
The beauty of helping others is that this act of kindness will make you feel good about yourself. From The Salvation Army to various food banks, there are numerous causes you can contribute to over the festive period. It’s the season of giving, after all!