Christmas can be a joyful time of year, but not everyone feels the festive cheer during the festive season.

For some, it can be the hardest time of year. It’s completely normal to feel ups and downs at Christmas, just like at
any other time of the year. This year in particular, many people have experienced trauma, or may be grieving for loved ones.

Christmas can also bring about feelings of obligation and overcommitment to social plans. Some people may experience isolation and
loneliness – whilst lots of people find the disruption to their normal routine quite destabilising.

Looking after your mental health – You don’t have to behave in a certain way, just because it’s Christmas

• Give yourself permission to feel how you feel – it’s OK to not be OK
• Have a Christmas that works for you – and don’t feel guilty about it.
• Have clear boundaries with people – in laws / parents / family members
• If you need quiet and calm time – tell your friends and family that’s what you are doing – balance your need for selfcare with any social

Selfcare – Feeling stressed at Christmas can also make existing mental health conditions more difficult to cope with.

• Try to maintain your self-care routine – exercise, sleep, socialise, volunteer, walk outdoors, keep doing the things you enjoy
• Make time for yourself – take a long bath, go on an errand, and even just having 5 minutes to yourself can be helpful.

Planning – With the additional constraints we face this year, planning will be even more important

• Prioritise and tackle things one at a time
• Write down what’s important to you
• Plan ahead and have some nice things booked in that you’d like to do outside of time spent with family
• If Christmas is tough, plan something to look forward to afterwards.

Loneliness – Loneliness is tough anytime of the year, but feeling lonely at Christmas and during a pandemic can feel particularly hard.
While it might seem like you’re the only person in the world who feels lonely at Christmas, that’s not the case – 9 million people in the UK
report feeling lonely some or most of the time – and it can affect anyone no matter your age, gender or background.

• Try talking to someone, a friend or family member, a health professional or councillor.
• Consider joining a group or class that focuses on something you enjoy
• Consider visiting places where you can be around other people – park, supermarket, café
• You can also consider peer support – check out the MIND website for more information here
• Think about volunteering

It’s OK2ASK for help

If you’re in distress this Christmas and want someone to talk to:

• Samaritans: 116 123 (24 hours)

Even if it’s hard to say the words… there are other ways to ask for help too. Here are some useful digital services:

• Text SHOUT to: 85258 to text with a trained crisis volunteer (24 hrs – free)
• Download the Stay Alive App from most app stores – packed full of useful information and tools to help you stay safe in a crisis
• Download the Calm Harm app if you self-harm – it can help you resist urges

Remember, to check in and keep connected to your friends, neighbours and loved ones.

It’s OK to not be OK this Christmas.

1 in 5 people have experienced suicidal thoughts.

Please don’t shame anyone for these thoughts. They are just thoughts.

End stigma, end suicide.

Give the gift of conversation.

If you’re worried about someone this Christmas, it’s#OK2ASK –