Mental Health at Christmas
We know that Christmas can be a difficult time for many people, and sometimes it's easy to forget to take care of your mental health. So we've put together some tips to help manage your mental health this Christmas.
If you do need someone to talk to, our student Mental Health Helpline is available for the whole college community and staffed by counsellors. The number is 0141 272 3786 and is open from 1pm – 4pm, Monday to Friday apart from 23, 25 December and 1 January. All you need is your eight digit student number.
Be kind to yourself
This will be a different Christmas. None of us have experienced a Christmas during a pandemic before so be kind to yourself. Every day won’t be perfect but that’s OK. Take time for a long hot bath, going for a walk, stroking your cat/dog, reading a book or other relaxing activity and accept that it’s fine to give yourself time to do what you want to do.
Do something active every day. Choose an activity that you enjoy and do it regularly. Walking, running, cycling, jumping on a trampoline, skipping, hula hooping, the list goes on... Consider longer days out too if that is possible. Going for a longer walk in the countryside or local park ties in with spending time outdoors so is twice as good for you.
Spend time outdoors
Are you making sure you get a daily dose of sunlight or spending some time outside every day? Time spent in natural surroundings can:
- improve your mood
- reduce feelings of stress or anger
- help you take time out and feel more relaxed
- improve your physical health
- improve your confidence and self-esteem
- help you be more active
- help you make new connections
How is your life balance at the moment?
Make a list of the activities you have done in the last 24 hours that have depleted you… and another list of activities that have nourished you… how is the balance? Do you need to do more nourishing activities?
Make a list of things you enjoy doing, at least 25, use all the senses if you can, small things (watching the sunset, looking at photos) and big (eg planning a holiday, redesigning your room)
How did it feel to write the list? Even thinking about things you enjoy can improve your mood.
Have a reason to get up every morning
Identify one reason for getting out of bed every day. This could be anything but will help you to establish a healthy daily routine.
Have a goal for every day
Be clear about your achievements. Ticking off items in your diary when they're complete is very satisfying. Take time to look back through your diary to remind yourself just how much you have achieved already.
Listen to music to switch up your mood
Whatever your favourite music, use it to help change your mood. This can be loud or quiet but both dancing and singing can have a huge impact on our frame of mind.
Get creative – drawing / painting / sewing / baking
Whether it’s your long-term hobby or you’ve never tried it before, do something that helps you express yourself. Write a short story, use your imagination, push yourself to take a risk and try something new. If you can’t think of anything, YouTube has plenty of how-to guides to help you get started.
Speak to friends virtually or by phone every day
Connecting with other people is crucial, even if you don’t feel like it. They may be struggling and a call to ask them how they are can make all the difference. It will also maintain your relationships with friends until you can meet up again. Remember, speaking is healthier than texting.
Find something to laugh at
Laughter is very good for us. It releases chemicals in the brain that help to raise our mood. Make a collection of things that make you laugh to go to when you are feeling low. This might include a film, jokes, funny book or podcast.
Remember, you can ask for help
Phone the college Mental Health Helpline if you would like a chat. It is available for the whole college community and staffed by counsellors. The number is 0141 272 3786 and is open from 1pm – 4pm, Monday to Friday apart from 23, 25 December and 1 January.