Although Christmas can be the most joyful time of year, what if for you it is actually one of the toughest times of the year? The loss of a loved one or friend becomes all the more prominent at this time, or you may have no family or friends local or around you at this time. Those who have parents who have separated can experience huge amounts of pressure to please others over family commitments and feelings of loneliness can seem exasperated by the continual focus on family time.
There has been a lot of information given about financial pressures over Christmas but what if your situation at Christmas is what brings about a certain amount of stress.
Such stresses can potentially play havoc with our emotions so in this article we wanted to put together a few quick tips to overcoming the stress, anxiety and feelings that might occur during this festive season.
Long term or chronic conditions at Christmas
If you are living with a long term health condition the impacts of this can extend to many areas of your life. Clients at Beehive who manage their conditions tell us of dealing with pain, social isolation and/or depression and the extreme fatigue that can come with many conditions. This is not restricted to physical conditions either as mental health conditions can be affected by the festive season.
At Christmas these challenges do not suddenly disappear, and with more unpleasant weather, they can actually adversely impact wellbeing.
So what can you do?
- Pain Management -
- Visit our Pharmacy. If you wish to tackle pain using medication your local pharmacist can offer advice based on your current medication and situation. You may need to see a doctor for prescription medication but a pharmacist can offer a lot of advice and give recommendations based on over the counter options. They have a private room at Rowlands if you wish to have a private chat. Make sure you have enough prescription medication to last any pharmacy closures over Christmas too!
- Access treatments designed to relax or directly tackle the source of pain. Massages or physical therapy based treatments can offer relief. Make sure the person you see knows your medical history. Aside from the pain this can assist with emotional wellbeing too in a way that means you do not need to vocalise how you are feeling.
- Mental Health - Sometimes we can manage our own mental health to keep well. Sometimes we need the help of a professional. If your bad days start to become more frequent than good as a result of your medical condition then reach out to get help. It may not be a magic wand but you can learn strategies and approaches to help your mental health get back to a positive level again. These strategies will only serve to help you in the future too. There are lots of options available. Via your doctor you may be able to access counselling or CBT, or if you prefer to access them privately you can! Hypnotherapy, mindfulness classes, CBT, Counselling, coaching, EMDR and more are available options here at Beehive. It is ok to ask for help.
Overcoming social isolation or loneliness at Christmas
Feeling isolated and lonely can become all the more prominent at this time of year. You may feel that you are surrounded with all this Christmas cheer and actually you feel your emotions overwhelm you. Here are a few tips to combat these feelings;
- Take up a new hobby - Whether you are a creative spirit or a fitness fanatic, taking up a new hobby at this time of year re-focuses your energy into learning a new skill or hobby. It may be taking up a new fitness class such as pilates or learning how to knit, sew or any craft expertise. We provide an extensive range of fitness classes, which you may find beneficial in accessing. Many of the attendees have built a social network outside of those classes such as a coffee and chat, or lunches together. Click here to see the timetable. It’s also worth mentioning that we have a crafter-noon event also taking place on the 11th December. It’s with the aim of raising money for MIND mental health charity, and you just may learn a new crafting skill. And furthermore give you the opportunity to meet some new faces. Give us a call on 01244 915603 for further details and to book.
- Take a Trip - This time of year can be a perfect opportunity to visit a new place and discover new areas. Hotels and accommodation can be particularly budget friendly at this time of year, as many are pre-occupied with the festive goings on. You may be able to bag a bargain, discover new surroundings and again this focuses your energies into planning and preparing for a well-deserved trip away.
- Volunteer – Volunteering at this time of year can be incredibly rewarding and a little humbling. There’s always people in life which are less fortunate than yourself, and it gives you an opportunity to give something back. It may be volunteering at a homeless shelter and different community projects will ease your own mixed emotions. Also spare a thought to those in long term hospital are who have very few visitors, perhaps this is something you may wish to do.
Dealing with a bereavement at Christmas
Losing a loved one or friend is never an easy situation to deal with, this may be the first Christmas without that special person. It might be that you had been coping reasonably well, but with all the Christmas cheer and pressure to feel festive, those feelings of grief, and sadness become all the more real. Some people find they do not want to celebrate Christmas, whilst others feel it is important to make a special effort to remember the person who has died. This can be done alone, with friends and family, or by visiting their resting place or a place special to you both. Grief is a process that takes time but if you feel it is starting to affect your everyday functioning and become overwhelming, or has gone on for an excessively long time, and doesn’t seem to be becoming easier to deal with, here’s a few tips which you may find beneficial in dealing with these mixed emotions;
- Take a Yoga or Tai Chi class – Yoga and Tai Chi can be hugely beneficial in overcoming mixed emotions because they involve exercise combined with ancient teachings designed to assist with mental health. For myself, it gives my mind a short break whereby I manage to switch off completely. We have a range of classes suitable for all levels, which are run throughout the week, so hopefully you could find one to suit if so desired. Click here to view our class timetable.
- Access counselling/coaching/Hypnotherapy services – We have a number of trained therapists and professionals, which you may find beneficial in dealing with your loss. Emma Matthews provides a range of services that you may find helpful. You can read more about her background and services here. We also have Julie Flower from Peaceful Minds, who offers counselling services here at Beehive. Hypnotherapy and coaching can help you tackle those emotions at an unconscious level to help you build strategies for the future so there are lots of options to help you move forward in a healthy way. Our mental health hive highlights services available within Beehive.
Dealing with increased social pressure from family or friends
Although it’s rather flattering that all members of your family and friends would like to see your lovely face at Christmas, sometimes it can all feel like pressure! Sometimes it can get to the point whereby you consult your diary and realise that you actually only have one available evening or weekend day suitable to see those asking for your presence. And in reality all you’d rather do is put on your favourite pyjamas, have a glass of wine and watch a good film at home. I really cannot emphasise enough the following point. ‘IT’S OK TO SAY NO’. Obviously with politeness, it’s OK to decline social invitations. You could even suggest an alternative date in the New Year when things have calmed down and the pressure has eased slightly. The reason those asking for your presence, is most probably because they think the world of you, and love your company. Therefore I’m sure they will fully understand if you explain to them how much pressure you feel under at this time of year. And with all the hype of Christmas over, it will give you both something to look forward to in the quiet month of January. Here’s also a few tips for finding that little down time to take some time away from the busy schedule and giving yourself some you time;
- Have a massage – We have a number of fantastic massage therapists here at Beehive, which will provide you relief from the daily stresses of life and the festive goings on. Click here to view our massage leaflet and talk you through the different types of massage available here at Beehive.
- Take a class or attend a workshop - Again I mention classes in this article. Mainly because classes such as yoga can provide a phenomenal amount of relief from the daily stresses of life and pressure you feel under to please others. It will provide you with an hour’s relief, whereby you have the opportunity to switch all those heightened levels of emotions and wind down. I can’t recommend them enough. Click here to view our class timetable or if you want to see what workshops we have coming up click here
We really hope you find this article helpful and I just wanted to highlight that if you are suffering from anxiety, depression, stress or any mental health condition, please first and foremost talk to your GP or mental health professional. Here are also a number of helpline numbers, which may be beneficial in these difficult times.
Here is a comprehensive list of helplines extracted from the ITV website, which you may find useful.
Suicide prevention helplines
Use our helplines to find more information and advice about suicide prevention
- NHS Choices – Suicide
Comprehensive help and information from NHS Choices with links to external websites.
- The Samaritans
Tel: 116 123
Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year. We provide a safe place for anyone struggling to cope, whoever they are, however they feel, whatever life has done to them. Please call 116 123 email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.samaritans.org to find details of the nearest branch.
MindInfoline: 0300 123 3393
The MindinfoLine offers thousands of callers confidential help on a range of mental health issues. Mind helps people take control of their mental health. We do this by providing high-quality information and advice, and campaigning to promote and protect good mental health for everyone. They also provide a special legal service to the public, lawyers and mental health workers.
HOPELINEUK – 0800 068 4141
Support for anyone under 35 experiencing thoughts of suicide, or anyone concerned that a young person may be experiencing thoughts of suicide.
- CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably)
Helpline: 0800 58 58 58
The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) works to prevent male suicide and offers support services for any man who is struggling or in crisis. CALM’s helpline 0800 58 58 58 and web-chat are for men in the UK who need to talk or find information and support. The services are open 5pm–midnight daily and are free, anonymous and confidential. For access or to find more information visit thecalmzone.net
Helpline: 0800 11 11
ChildLine is a counselling service for children and young people. You can contact ChildLine in these ways: You can phone on 0800 1111, send us an email, have a 1-2-1 chat with us, send a message to Ask Sam and you can post messages to the ChildLine message boards. You can contact ChildLine about anything - no problem is too big or too small. If you are feeling scared or out of control or just want to talk to someone you can contact ChildLine.
Kooth.com is an online counselling service that provides vulnerable young people, between the ages of 11 and 25, with advice and support for emotional or mental health problems. Kooth.com offers users a free, confidential, safe and anonymous way to access help.
Helpline: 0808 802 5544
Parents' Information Service gives advice to parents or carers who may be concerned about the mental health or emotional well being of a child or young person.
- The Mix
Helpline: 0808 808 4994
Life’s tough, we know that. It can throw a lot your way and make it hard to know what the hell to do with it all. So, welcome to The Mix. Whether you’re 13, 25, or any age in between, we’re here to take on the embarrassing problems, weird questions, and please-don’t-make-me-say-it-out-loud thoughts you have. We give you the information and support you need to deal with it all. Because you can. Because you’re awesome. We’ll connect you to experts and your peers who’ll give you the support and tools you need to take on any challenge you’re facing – for everything from homelessness to finding a job, from money to mental health, from break-ups to drugs. We’re a free and confidential multi-channel service. That means that you choose how you access our support, without the worry of anyone else finding out. Whether it be through our articles and video content online or our phone, email, peer to peer and counselling services – we put the control in your hands. You can even volunteer with us too.
- Students Against Depression
Students Against Depression is a website offering advice, information, guidance and resources to those affected by low mood, depression and suicidal thinking. Alongside clinically-validated information and resources it presents the experiences, strategies and advice of students themselves – after all, who are better placed to speak to their peers about how depression can be overcome.
Tel: 020 7263 7070
At Maytree, we provide people in the midst of a suicidal crisis with the opportunity for rest and reflection, and give them the opportunity to stay in a calm, safe and relaxed environment. We can support four "guests" at a time. The service runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Our warm and friendly volunteers and staff team spend up to 77 hours with each guest over their stay, giving them the opportunity to talk through their fears, thoughts and troubles. On leaving, each guest receives a goodbye letter. This is a personal record written by a member of Maytree's staff team which reflects their stay, validates their struggles and honours their achievements.