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Top tips for Christmas 2020

Top tips
for Christmas

Self-care during the festive season

Christmas is a time for celebration, yet it can be difficult for some veterans with mental health problems. They may feel isolated, lonely or depressed, or might feel overwhelmed by the celebrations with family and friends.

And with COVID-19 restrictions continuing, the festive period might prove challenging for anyone’s mental health, as well as heightening pre-exiting conditions.

If you or your loved ones are affected, our specialist clinical team here at Combat Stress is sharing the following seven steps you can take to help make the festive period easier.

Seven tips to help you over Christmas

 

 
 

1. Stay connected with friends and family 

Maintaining that social connection with friends and family is so important to ward off low moods and loneliness. While COVID-19 restrictions are being eased around Christmas Day, it's going to be harder this year to stay connected.   

Make use of telephone, email and social media or perhaps organise a Christmas quiz or Karaoke night over video call (such as Zoom or Skype). 

2. Remember your medication 

Christmas can be a busy and hectic time of year. It’s easy to lose track of time, but it’s really important to remember to take your prescribed medication. 

3. Do something enjoyable or relaxing

Even if you find yourself stuck indoors for part of the Christmas period, spend time doing something you enjoy like reading a book, painting, sketching, taking photos, or tackling puzzles and brain teasers.  

When it all feels too much, do things that soothe you. Take a bath, drink hot chocolate, spray your favourite scents around the house, or try one of the music playlists we’ve created to help you relax and unwind, on the Combat Stress Spotify channel.

 

4. Get plenty of fresh air

Regularly getting some fresh air, whether that's by going for a daily walk, running, cycling, or even just cracking open a window, can have many health benefits.

These include renewed energy and mental focus, as well as lowering high blood pressure and heart rate.  

5. Pay it back (safely)

Helping others can feel rewarding. Christmas, and indeed the whole winter season, can be a difficult time for some, and this year may only be harder.  

While adhering to guidelines, reach out to those family members, friends and neighbours who may be self-isolating, lonely, or vulnerable. 

You could even check local volunteer services to see if there's a safe way you can help out this year.

6. Find a balance with festive food and drink

We all love indulging ourselves at Christmas, but too much snacking, sweets, caffeine and alcohol can have an adverse effect on your body and mind. Try and maintain some balance.

Getting your five-a-day of fruit and vegetables (it doesn’t have to be sprouts!) will help feed a healthier body and mind.

Trying not to have coffee or an alcoholic drink three hours before bedtime can improve your sleep.

 

7. It's good to talk

If you find the festive period difficult, confide in a friend or family member, or reach out to a mental health service. Veterans and their loved ones can contact the Combat Stress 24-hour Helpline free on 0800 138 1619 

You can also text our Helpline on 07537 404 719 or email helpline@combatstress.org.uk 

Our Helpline will be available throughout the Christmas period, should you need to talk, so please, don’t struggle alone.