Christmas for most people is a time of year filled with parties and celebrations but for many it’s a time filled with sadness, loneliness and anxiety. Sadness is truly a personal feeling. What makes one person sad may not make another person feel the same way. Typical sources of sadness over the Christmas period include…. stress, fatigue, unrealistic expectations, financial stress or worries and the inability to be with the people you want to be with.

Depression around the Christmas period usually doubles though many of these sufferers won’t see themselves as depressed. These people will usually develop stress responses such as headaches, excessive drinking, over eating and insomnia.

Here are some tips on how you can help ease the Christmas blues for yourself.

• Keep your expectations modest – don’t worry about getting into the Christmas spirit just take it as it comes.
• Do something different to take you away from doing the normal Christmas things- go out for Christmas dinner or go to the cinema on Boxing Day instead of hitting the sales.
• Get together with the people you feel support you rather than those who don’t.
• Don’t assume the worst. Don’t start Christmas expecting it to be a disaster just take it as it comes, and it will be a lot more enjoyable.
• Don’t run yourself ragged just to live up to other people’s expectations.
• Avoid situations or people you know trigger your stress.
• Find positive ways to remember those people who are no longer around to celebrate with you.
• Don’t say yes to every invitation and leave parties or gatherings when you want to rather than been pressurised into staying longer than you want.
• Give yourself a break – don’t add extra stress on to yourself trying to get everything perfect.
• Don’t miss out any regular doses of prescribed medication and ensure you have enough to cover you over the Christmas period so you don’t run out.
• Enjoy yourself as much as you can but call it a night when you feel you have had enough.
• If you see a therapist try to add in some extra sessions or ask about telephone consultations just so you can check in when you need to.

Remember if you find yourself feeling low and depressed there’s always people on the end of the phone at The Samaritans.
They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week all year round.

The number is a free phone number, so you don’t need money to be able to talk to someone. You don’t have to be feeling suicidal to ring them and they offer a safe place for you to be able to talk in your own way about whatever’s bothering you.

The number to ring for free is 116123

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