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We're Mind, the mental health charity. We provide advice and support to anyone with a mental health problem. We're continuing to run Friends in Need and to support Depression Alliance's self-help groups. We can offer you advice and support on depression, too.

12 tips for Christmas

With a bit of foresight and planning, the holiday period doesn’t have to leave you feeling burnt out. Follow these tips to help manage your depression over the holidays:


1. Pre-planning
Prepare for the holiday season in advance, find out the opening hours of your GP, ensure you've got enough medication and know how to access support if you need it:
Useful links
Friends in Need
Self help groups


2. Avoid excessive alcohol consumption
Remember alcohol is a depressant, it can intensify your emotions and leave you feeling worse when it wears off. Try not to use it to deal with stressful or difficult situations over the holiday period.


3. Don’t over indulge on the holiday treats
Of course it's fine to treat yourself but try to balance it out with healthier choices that will make you feel good about yourself.


4. Get moving
As much as you might not want to go out in the cold, the fresh air, sunlight, and physical activity will do you good. It can also help to manage Seasonal Affective Disorder. Read our blog on hacks to combat S.A.D.


5. Family Conflicts
If you find the holiday period stressful due to family conflicts, try to avoid them by preparing neutral responses, such as, "Let's talk about that another time," or, "I can see how you would feel that way." Try and stay on safe topics that you all agree on. If all this fails then remove yourself from the situation.

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6. Feeling isolated and lonely
In what can feel like the most isolating and loneliest time of the year make sure you have a strong support network to access. If your friends and family don't understand or you're alone, you can try our Friends in Need community to speak to others who understand. You could also consider exploring local volunteering opportunities.

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7. Reflecting on the past
It's natural to look back at this time of year, if you are struggling to see the positives try and stay in the present and focus on things you're grateful for. Don’t feel pressured to make new year resolutions if you find them unhelpful.

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8. Avoid financial worries
There can be a lot of pressure around Christmas to spend money. Set yourself a budget and stick to it. Suggest to family and friends that you do a Secret Santa instead to keep down the cost of buying lot's of presents.

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9. Don’t over commit
This time of year you tend to get more invites to Christmas drinks and nights out. Don’t feel pressured to commit to everything, remember you can say no!


10. Manage your time
If you have regular activities that help you manage your depression, try and stick to them over the holiday. If you find you have more time on your hands, this is a good opportunity to try a new hobby or explore an interest.

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11. Managing sleep
Too much or too little sleep can have a negative impact on your mental wellbeing. Try to get to bed and wake up at approximately the same time everyday; avoid large meals, alcohol and physical activity within a few hours of going to bed.

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12. Ask for help
Lastly please remember If you are struggling ask for help; from family or friends and organisations. If you feel like you are in immediate crisis visit your local A&E or call 999.

We hope you have a lovely Christmas and New Year, remember if you need to talk to others who understand our Friends in Need community is open 24/7 all year round.

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