Our tips on where to find support and how to look after your mental health this Christmas
It’s supposed to be one of the happiest times of the year. Everything with that Hallmark sprinkle of glitter and tinsel. But 2020 has something different planned and the run-up to this year’s holiday season is not going to be as many of us would have hoped. In fact, if you’re like us, it’s probably left you feeling flat, disappointed and frustrated and in need of love, help and support.
We're sure some of you will be looking to find support this Christmas, so we thought we’d give you some tips on where you can find it.
Our tips on where to find support this Christmas:
#1 Find connection
Loneliness can be especially hard at Christmas. Marketing bosses constantly bombard us with happy family scenes when reality really is something different - even in a normal world. This year, lockdown, bubbles and distance will see many of us feeling very far away from friends and loved ones. So what can you do?
Well, seeking connection in modern times has become a lot easier and technology has been a godsend for us this year. If you don’t feel you have anyone you can reach out to virtually, Sarah Millican started #joinin on Twitter to connect all of those who could do with some company at Christmas. She’s running it again this year - the 10th in a row. This really is one of the nicest places on the internet to hang out with people going through the same thing.
Mind UK also has great advice on how to manage loneliness and find support this Christmas. From how to make new connections and try peer support to talking therapies and ways to look after yourself - we think there are some fab tips.
#2 Find help with financial worry
We know it. We’ve all been there. Christmas is EXPENSIVE! It’s tempting to push the boat out and before you know it the credit card is maxed out and worry has joined us for Christmas dinner. Deep down we know that people don’t usually base their affection on the gifts we give them, but it can be hard to rein in spending.
Of course, Christmas is probably not the time you want to be thinking of budgeting, but if you need some help there are some great resources out there. As a start, if you’re just looking for some inspiration on what you can achieve, take a look at Clare Seal’s My Frugal Year on Instagram. She’s also written a fab book Real Life Money on how she's clearing her debt and how you can take back control of your finances. You’ll even find our Ali in there too - she contributed to the Money and Mental Health chapter.
If things are a little more serious than just wanting to budget a bit more, the NHS has an excellent guide on How to Cope with Money Worries with lots of advice on where you can get help.
#3 Find support in your own self-care
Finding time for ourselves - you could say reaching in to reach out to ourselves - is vital for us to get through the run-up to Christmas. It can seem as if everyone wants a little bit of us and if we don’t make sure we’re ok first, things will get tricky. The old ‘put your face mask on first’ thing is talked about a lot. And for good reason. It’s true.
Ali wrote a blog on 10 Ways to Prioritise Your Mental Health which gives you realistic and doable tips on how to put yourself first. But honestly, we think the best thing you can do is to schedule your me-time in. Whether that’s in your Positive Bullet Diary or Positive Week Desk Pad Planner, planning it into each week will make it easier to create the routine you need.
Self-care can take many forms. It’s not all about yoga, scented candles and face masks (although these are great!). Working on your to-do lists, taking time away from social media and doing your finances are all self-care too. If you’re looking for inspiration, take a look at Finn’s 10 Ways to Boost your Mental Health for Free blog. Buzzfeed also has a good one for anyone feeling sad at Christmas here.
#4 Find the Positive Planner Community
If you’re looking for support and also fab community spirit, then head over to our private Positive Planner Facebook Group!
The group has grown into a very safe and happy place since we started it back in the summer. It’s a space where everyone is free to share and post questions and worries - all without judgement or criticism.
So if you’re struggling, check in with us. There will be a lot going on in the group in the run-up to Christmas and we can guarantee someone else will be going through something similar to you. We’re also pretty good at the virtual hug business too!
#5 Find help when things get serious
No one can deny that this hasn’t been an easy year. We think we’re all amazing to have got as far as December as well as we have. However, for some this year has been a lot harder than for others. And if that includes you, we're thinking of you.
If you’ve been struggling for whatever reason, please know how important it is to reach out and take the support that you so need and deserve. There are countless organisations and places that are waiting to offer you that hand to hold. We’ve put together a page of Mental Health Links where you can find a list of places to contact if you’re struggling - from The Samaritans for crisis help to The Mix which provides essential support for under 25s.
Just remember it’s OK to not be OK at Christmas. It’s OK to feel as if the Grinch really did steal your Christmas. But remember you’re not alone in all this and there is help out there - please go find it.
Much love and positive festive vibes to you all,
Ali + Finn xx