Christmas and Mental Health



Although Christmas is a time for celebrating for most, for others it can be a hard time of year, especially this year whilst we are still dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. It might be that you have recently lost someone, are unable to see family or friends, or just simply not be in the mood for celebrating Christmas this year. No matter how you’re feeling, it’s okay to not feel ‘up’ for Christmas or celebrating this year. But it is important that you look after your mental health and wellbeing and take the time that you need this Christmas.

If you are spending Christmas with just who you look after: Lots of us might be spending Christmas day without extended family this year. This may feel tough if it’s not how you would choose to spend the day, whether it’s because of the pandemic or for other reasons.

Here are some tips for still celebrating the day:

  1. Eat the food you enjoy – you don’t have to cook yourself a full traditional Christmas dinner if you don’t want to, but having a nice breakfast, or something special you and who you look after like but don’t normally eat can be a nice way of treating yourself and making the day feel special.

  2. Go for a walk ­– going for a nice, frosty walk could be a great idea for Christmas day if you are able to take who you look after. It could give you a chance to reflect and take in nature, whilst also meeting some fellow walkers along the way for a socially distanced chat.

  3. Do things you enjoy together – why not find something you and who you look after can both enjoy – like listening to music, watching a Christmas film, or making some Christmas crafts. Find some of our recommendations and tips below.

Coping with loss at Christmas: Losing someone and dealing with grief can be really hard at all times of year, but as the festive period creeps closer it can be a time where you really miss the people you have lost.

  1. Find creative ways to remember your loved one – Finding creative ways to remember your loved one at Christmas can really help. Try lighting a candle by their photo, or even writing a Christmas card to them, remembering some of the good times you spent together. Honoring their memory can really help the grieving process.

  2. Don’t feel pressured – It can be hard around this time of year to say no to things. If you’re not feeling particularly festive, don’t be afraid to have a quieter Christmas just doing the things you want to do. You may even decide not to celebrate Christmas at all, just remember whatever you want to do is okay.

  3. Don’t feel like you can’t celebrate – Alternatively, don’t feel bad for having fun or being festive over Christmas while grieving your loved one. It can feel almost wrong to celebrate or have fun when you’re grieving the loss of a loved one, but it’s important to take time for yourself.

The most important thing to remember about his time is that it’s okay to grieve, and important to take care of yourself during Christmas and at all times of the year. If you feel like you need to talk to someone now or around Christmas about how you are feeling, you can contact: Samaritans are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Call them free on 116 123. Barnardos has launched a new helpline for children and their families affected by COVID-19.

You can call them for free on 0800 157 7015 to speak to a friendly person in their team, and they’ll help you figure things out.

Monday and Friday 9am – 9pm and Saturday and Sunday 10am – 6pm or use their form here.

You can find more mental health resources here.

Ideas for celebrating Christmas at home or socially distanced this year We’ve gathered some ideas for celebrating Christmas at home or socially distanced this year:

  1. Get crafty – make some Christmas garlands from paint colour samples! This is a great idea if you don’t have craft supplies to hand. If you’ve got an old paint colour sample book lying around, or if you have a chance to pop into your local DIY store and grab some free samples, why not try making them into garlands? Cut them into bell shapes, trees, or even snowmen!

  2. Watch a Christmas play – from home! This Christmas, take part in the music and merriment of this uplifting story from the comfort of your own home with the smash hit production of Charles Dickens’ immortal classic A Christmas Carol. A Christmas Carol will be performed and streamed live as part of our Old Vic: In Camera Only one ticket is required per household, and all performances can be audio described and captioned. To book online you can go to – https://www.oldvictheatre.com/whats-on/2020/old-vic-in-camera/a-christmas-carol-5 or call the box office on 0344 871 7628.

  3. Advent trails and festive light trails! Many towns across Wiltshire are doing window advent trails, like Chippenham. Festive pictures will form a trail in windows through Chippenham from 5 December to 3 January, with the opportunity to vote for a Community Choice design. This design will be announced on Twelfth Night, Tuesday 5 January, and receive a set of art materials. A map of the window trail and details of how to vote will be available from Chippenham Town Council’s website. Or if your town isn’t doing one, why not have a walk around and see what Christmas lights are up and get in the festive spirit.


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