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Mental wellbeing during the Christmas festive period

Posted on the 13th December 2017

Christmas can be a really fun time of the year, but it can also be stressful for some. To avoid unnecessary stress during the festive period this year, people in Lancashire are being encouraged to follow 12 simple steps.

With friends and family coming together to eat, drink, exchange gifts and celebrate during Christmas, the celebrations can bring immense pressure to most of us. It is, however, also extremely important that we take care of our mental wellbeing.

Kieran Fleck, Mindsmatter Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner Lead at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“Christmas can be a really stressful time of the year, regardless of whether you live with a mental health problem or not. While the festive season is great for bringing together family and friends to spend time with each other and celebrate, the preparation, financial pressure and family tensions can often bring added and unnecessary stress for people.

“We want people in Lancashire to ensure that they are looking after themselves by planning and using their time effectively to avoid last minute running around, and ensuring they get plenty of sleep and relaxation time. We are encouraging people to do good deeds or small acts of kindness to make themselves feel better and maintain a positive mind set. Nobody should suffer alone. We have Mindsmatter teams across Lancashire that are here to support anyone who is feeling low or stressed out this Christmas.”

The Mindsmatter team has also put together some top tips to help people remain well this Christmas.

1.    Do something different that you wouldn’t normally do. Break the usual routines and comforts. Maybe order something from a restaurant or café you wouldn’t normally order, park somewhere different, take a different route to work today than you would normally take.

2.    Find and cook a new recipe. Look for healthy ideas online, buy the ingredients and cook it for yourself or your family.

3.    Go for a walk in the park, maybe look for a Geocache with friends or family as a fun challenge (www.geocaching.com/play).

4.    Buy something at your local charity shop, maybe a Christmas present or a little extra gift for a loved one. You will be supporting your local charity shops.

5.    Spend 15 minutes doing some mindful practice, try mindful observation or breathing (www.pocketmindfulness.com/6-mindfulness-exercises-you-can-try-today/). These techniques can really help reduce worry and stress.

6.    Go to the local market or superstore and buy a range of fruit for the week. Try to eat 5 pieces of fruit in total each day.

7.    Pick up an audio CD, podcast on a novel or subject you are interested in. Listen in the car, or in bed.

8.    Close the curtains, put some music on loud and dance while no one’s watching. It’s fun, silly and enjoyable.

9.    Watch a DVD/video of stand-up comedy. Have a good giggle to yourself or with friends and family.

10.  Focus today on fixing or cleaning those things you keep avoiding – something small and achievable.

11.  Try and reduce the amount of harmful things you may be in a habit of having; try less cups of tea, coffee or reduce your alcohol intake. This can help start new healthy habits and can aid things like sleep at night.

12.  Complete a jigsaw or colouring book, maybe do it with others you live with. They are fun, relaxing and you can feel that sense of achievement afterwards.

People can access the service via the online referral form from the comfort of their own home, by post, telephone or by visiting their GP. For more information about your local Mindsmatter service and to access their online self-referral form please visit www.lancashirecare.nhs.uk/Mindsmatter.