Christmas & Mental Health

Mental Health

Whether or not Christmas is part of your life, your mental health might be affected by it happening around you. It's a time of year that often puts extra pressure on us, and can affect our mental health in lots of different ways.

For example, if you:

  • Feel alone or left out because everyone else seems happy when you're not
  • Wish you didn't have to deal with Christmas, or find it stressful because of other events in your life
  • Feel frustrated by other people's views of a 'perfect' Christmas, if these feel different to your experiences
  • Have ideas about what Christmas should be like, feel as if you need to enjoy it or worry something will ruin it
  • Feel like Christmas gives you something to focus on and look forward to, and find it difficult when it's over
  • Want to celebrate with someone who's struggling

Listening to other people's exciting plans makes me feel like an alien being, as I don't have all those wonderful relationships in my life.

The festive period could affect your mental health in other ways too. For example:

  • Your mental health problem might make it hard for you to spend Christmas how you want. 
  • Difficult and stressful experiences at Christmas could make your mental health worse. Enjoying Christmas might also affect your mental health, for example if it triggers hypomania or mania.
  • It can be harder to access services that normally help you. Some of these services may be closed during the Christmas period.
  • Your usual routines may be disrupted, which might make it harder to manage your mental health.
  • If you celebrate other religious festivals or holidays, you may feel overlooked. It might feel like Christmas is given special attention.
  • New Year can also be a hard time. It can make us look back at difficult memories or worry about the coming year. We might also reflect on our lives, and regret things we haven't achieved. 

What can I do to get through Christmas?

If Christmas is a hard time for you, it's important to remember that you are not alone. There are things you can try that might help, such as:

Looking after yourself

  • Be gentle and patient with yourself. It might help to think about what is best for your wellbeing during Christmas, and prioritise what you need. 
  • Remind yourself that it won't last forever. You could set a 'start' and 'finish' time for what you count as Christmas. 
  • Set your boundaries. Try to say no to things that aren't helpful for you.
  • Let yourself experience your own feelings. Even if they don't match what's going on around you, they're still valid. For example, if you don't feel like celebrating Christmas when everyone else does.
  • Take time out. Do something to forget that it's Christmas or distract yourself. For example, you could watch a film or read a book that's set in the summer. Or you could try learning a new skill.
  • Let yourself have the things you need. For example, if you need to take a break instead of doing an activity, or need a little bit of quiet time.
  • If you can't avoid doing something difficult, plan something for yourself afterwards to help reduce the stress or distress you might feel.

Content sourced from Mind (mind.org.uk).

Mental Health Useful Resources

These five directories list the names, numbers and web addresses (where applicable) of...
The EA currently have 162 staff on our Mental Health First Aider network. The Mental...
Inspire Workplaces (one of the new names for Carecall and EAP Consultants), is a leading...
Well mind is a workshop which focuses on recognising the triggers of stress and the...
There are a number of health campaigns throughout the year to raise awareness of...
This is delivered to the general adult population, including those affected by depression...
First aid as we know it is the help given to an injured person before medical treatment...
This is delivered to expectant mothers & parents of babies under 3 years of age. It...
Our support groups offer a safe space for people aged 18+ to share experiences of anxiety...
AMH New Life Counselling provides high quality counselling services and is part of Action...
AMH Promote provides opportunities for adults with a learning disability to be socially...
Beyond Bricks is Lego® Based Play that uses a 'recovery to discovery' approach to enhance...
This includes: Raising awareness of depression and Aware NI services at a wide range of...
AMH EveryBODY aims to promote greater understanding and awareness of eating disorders. We...
Back to Life, Back to Normality is a free 12-week mental health programme delivered by...
Belfast Resource Centre offers many opportunities including social and leisure activities...
Anxiety can affect anyone at any time, however, students often experience additional...
Tailored activities to support positive mental health and emotional wellbeing. MensSana,...
MindWise is delighted to offer employers an opportunity to train their staff as Mental...
It is estimated that the overall prevalence of mental health conditions in Northern...
Free access to eBooks, audiobooks and eMagazines - available to download on your device...
Supporting veterans at risk of suicide across Northern Ireland. Exposure to line of duty...
Link & Learns are bite size, topical learning sessions for your employees, delivered...
Since 2010 Action Mental Health has been successfully delivering Chronic Pain/Conditions...
Libraries NI can provide a free Homecall service to your home if you have significant...
CBT involves examining your thoughts, feelings and behaviour patterns, and working out...
Be Mindful is an online course that uses mindfulness techniques like meditation,...
The OUR Generation project is a Peace IV funded project that provides a unique...
Everyone’s mental health and emotional well-being is important and many different issues...
Our team of facilitators have extensive knowledge and experience in the field of Mental...
Advanced Diploma in Mental Health and Wellbeing Coaching This virtual training programme...
Mindfulness is a form of meditation with its roots in Buddhism. It helps you develop...
Mood Matters Young People programme is aimed at 14-18 year olds and gives them knowledge...
Clinical hypnotherapy is the use of hypnosis for the treatment and alleviation of a...
We’ve gathered useful advice, information and help for young people aged 8-25 and those...
AMH Works provide specialised mental wellbeing training and consultancy to tackle...
This supportive behaviour change programme motivates individuals who are ready to make...
This programme is a six week training programme for groups of adults and focuses on...
This idea is a walk in the park. It really is that simple, post a news item to see how...
Positive Minds for Premature Parents supports families of premature babies to develop and...
MindWise are proud to be the only membership-led mental health organisation in Northern...
AWARE also offers an online support group service. The groups provide an opportunity to...
The British Red Cross is helping people connect with their local communities, meet new...
WiseTalking is a pilot Talking Therapies service for children and young people who are...
This is a six-session programme using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) concepts – the...
AMH New Horizons provides a comprehensive programme of specialist training in: Personal...
We have a wealth of experience in delivering training and consultancy services to a wide...
Helping employees become more resilient, by giving them the skills to reframe negative...
A project for men aged 50+ to share skills, socialise and connect with their wider...
The Community Care and Support Service is open to individuals over the age of 18 years...
Our Talking Therapies Practice offers individuals a range of psychological interventions...
Counselling is a form of talking therapy that allows you to speak openly about your...
From books and magazines to local history resources, Libraries NI has a host of fabulous...
A partnership, led by AMH, who worked with 8 leading charities to improve mental health...
Stress doesn’t just make you feel bad – it can also be bad for your health. The good news...
Bloom is a UK-wide programme which supports young people’s mental health resilience,...
You must download the Libby app to continue to access the eMagazine and eNewspaper...
This is aimed at the over 55’s and is delivered to groups in community settings. The...
Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT), developed by Professor Paul Gilbert OBE, is a...
Sourcing and supporting employment opportunities, training and/or voluntary placements...
Action Mental Health is one of the ChatPal Project Team Members working to develop and...
Learn to manage negative thoughts and look at problems differently
Moodpath: Depression and Anxiety is a written mood journal that uses progress reports and...
Personalised Exercise Plans
MoodMission helps you learn new and better ways of coping with low moods and anxiety...
Handle stress and anxiety on the go
MindShift CBT is a free self-help anxiety relief app, that helps you reduce worry, stress...
Here2Help has been developed by a local initiative from people who want to make the range...
Guided meditations
Active 10 is a free and easy to use walking app that tracks your walking and shows you...
SuperBetter is a tool created by game designers to help you build resilience and get...
Fabulous! Is a motivational app that uses challenges to help build physically and...
What's Up? can help you cope with anxiety, stress and feelings of depression. It has...
Guided meditations
Clear Fear is an app developed for teenage mental health charity Stem4 which uses the...
Boost your happiness and create a kinder world while doing it with the Action for...
Support to resist self-harm
Self-Help for Anxiety Management (SAM) offers a range of self-help methods to help you...
It’s an easy to follow programme known the world over, and perfect for those new to...
Your Mind Plan offers practical ideas and advice to help you boost and maintain your mental wellbeing. Answer the quick 5-question quiz and the Every Mind Matters widget will give you 5 tailored actions to help you feel more in control, improve your sleep, deal with stress and anxiety, and boost your mood – as well as the option to easily swap any actions and to save the whole plan via email.

Mental Health Helplines & Web Chats

Samaritans
Action Mental Health
Association for Post-Natal Illness Helpline
Aware NI - Support Groups
Aware NI - Online Support Groups
Mind - Side by Side Online Community