Thursday, 18 December 2014

Top 10 Tips to Survive Christmas

The mental health team here at PAVO would like to wish you all the best for Christmas and New Year 2014. However, we understand that it can be a difficult time for some people, and between us the team have come up with ten (hopefully useful) tips for surviving Christmas. If you have ideas of your own we would really like to hear from you - just add them in the comments box at the end.

1 Get together with other people
If you haven’t got anything planned for Christmas and are worried about being on your own, why not contact someone who may be in a similar situation, and arrange to do something together.

2 Prepare in case of a crisis
Before Christmas make a list of people and places who could support you in a crisis. Make sure you have phone numbers to hand, opening times of places that are important to you, that you have renewed your prescription if you have medication, and have emergency cash if possible for taxis if you really need to get somewhere. If you self-injure and think this is likely over Christmas make sure you have what you need to be safe. (See links below for further support and help).

3 Remember lost loved ones
Christmas can be a difficult time if you have just lost someone. If you have lost someone close maybe acknowledge this and light a candle for them. You might like to give something to an appropriate charity in their memory.

4 Be a Christmas volunteer
What about actually volunteering to do something with a local group or charity? Many organisations would like to hear from you if you have time to help, but contact them in plenty of time so that your offer can be incorporated into the group's plans.

5 Just treat yourself!
Do something nurturing for yourself - get yourself a treat - plan to go to your favourite place or go on your favourite walk, or listen to music that you really like.

6 Celebrate in your own way
If the commercialisation or the religious aspects of Christmas are not for you celebrate the mid winter in your own ways - think of the mid winter as a time for reflection and quiet, a time for beginning to nurture new growth….think of all the things in nature which begin life in a period of dark and quiet - roots start to grow, trees rest before the new leaves of spring, sheep are in lamb ready for spring …...sow some seeds of change for yourself - what can you begin when the days start to get longer again?

7 Have a laugh!
Promise yourself a laugh on Christmas Day - even if you don’t really feel like it. Look at some funny DVDs or ring someone who makes you laugh - find a funny YouTube clip - even if you feel false doing it laughing can definitely help to lift negative feelings.

8 Take the time to be useful

Use the time to do something practical. You may get a sense of achievement for having accomplished something. Perhaps you have been waiting all year to find time to sort out that untidy room or make a new garden bed. Dive in and start now!
9 Create, create, create
Be creative - paint a picture, knit a scarf, design your garden ready for the new season, write a poem, make a fun mask, go for a walk and take some photographs, sing a song.... Perhaps it is an opportunity to try something new. There are lots of groups out there encouraging creative activity, such as Arts Alive in Crickhowell. Or you can search the internet for websites packed full of ideas, like this one.

10 Be a friend to someone else this Christmas
Think about what your neighbours might be doing, and if any of them might need some support, help or companionship at this time. Often helping someone else - even just small gestures such as collecting a newspaper for them from the local shop -  can take your mind off your own struggles and can be a very rewarding way to spend time over the Christmas period.

Wellness and Recovery Learning Centres around Powys are open at some point over Christmas and the New Year and would welcome your visit. Visit their websites to check their opening times, details here. You can link to national helplines here.

If you need help urgently find information here.

We look forward to hearing from you in 2015.


  1. Thanks for a great blog. I recently sat and watched several comedy DVDs which lifted my spirits enormously!

    1. Hi Anon
      Thanks for the comment - good to hear from you. Keep smiling!