Christmas and New Year can be a difficult time for many of us. It brings pressures and problems to bear. Here is some advice for Christmas and New Year.
Be careful about comparing yourself to others at Christmas
Unrealistic media and advertising versions of other people’s festive celebrations can make us feel less positive. Be realistic about your own expectations. Make plans for how you will spend the time over Christmas. Build time in for yourself to treat yourself whether it be reading a new book, getting out for coffee or a takeaway meal.
Participate in your local community or social groups
Christmas can be a time of increased loneliness and isolation. It’s even tougher this year with restrictions in place. Many organisations offer support at Christmas and finding out what is available in your local area may be helpful. Local libraries, community centres, social media and newspapers are good sources of information online. Try to connect into local groups, even it’s using the internet, and try not to spend too much time alone.
Connect with other people in similar situations
Don’t allow your normal routines to be pushed out of place. Try to go to your regular support groups such as SMART, NA and AA over the holiday period for support. You could even consider going to extra meetings. There are lots of online meetings taking place now every day.
Plan to keep things problem-free
Think about what people or situations may trigger negative feelings or behaviours and figure out ways to avoid them. If certain people or times might be a trigger decide to just stop at a different time to see the same people. Try to avoid people or places that may bring back memories of unhappy experiences or that might cause you to think about misusing substances. If you are unable to avoid these, think about making a plan ahead of time to cope with them as well as you possibly can. Your Key Worker can help you with this.
Keeping physically active can help with your mood as well as improve your health. Try to schedule in some time every day for walking, cycling or gardening or whatever activity you prefer. These will all help you to sleep better too.
Don’t give up
If you have a moment of frustration or sadness then let it pass and go on. Just because you feel bad for a few minutes doesn’t mean you give up the rest of the day or use substances to deal with it. Try to let these emotions just pass through you. Remember, no emotion lasts forever, even though it might feel that way at the time. Use distractions if possible to turn your attention elsewhere. Use the helplines on this leaflet if you need to. These services understand how difficult this time of year can be and are ready to offer support to those who need it.
We have put together a range of contact numbers for those who may feel they need extra support or help over the seasonal period. This ranges from the Samaritans to the National Debt Helpline.