Mental Health and Wellbeing at Christmas including different SEND needs
How might Christmas affect my mental health?
Whether or not Christmas is part of your life, your mental health might be affected by it happening around you. It's a time of year that often puts extra pressure on us, and can affect our mental health in lots of different ways.
For example, if you:
- Feel alone or left out because everyone else seems happy when you're not
- Wish you didn't have to deal with Christmas, or find it stressful because of other events in your life
- Feel frustrated by other people's views of a 'perfect' Christmas, if these feel different to your experiences
- Have ideas about what Christmas should be like, feel as if you need to enjoy it or worry something will ruin it
- Feel like Christmas gives you something to focus on and look forward to, and find it difficult when it's over
- Want to celebrate with someone who's struggling
The festive period could affect your mental health in other ways too. For example:
- Your mental health problem might make it hard for you to spend Christmas how you want.
- Difficult and stressful experiences at Christmas could make your mental health worse. Enjoying Christmas might also affect your mental health, for example if it triggers hypomania or mania.
- It can be harder to access services that normally help you. Some of these services may be closed during the Christmas period.
- Your usual routines may be disrupted, which might make it harder to manage your mental health.
- Your experiences during the coronavirus restrictions may affect how you feel about this Christmas.
- If you celebrate other religious festivals or holidays, you may feel overlooked. It might feel like Christmas is given special attention.
- New Year can also be a hard time. It can make us look back at difficult memories or worry about the coming year. We might also reflect on our lives, and regret things we haven't achieved.
What can I do to get through Christmas?
If Christmas is a hard time for you, it's important to remember that you are not alone. There are things you can try that might help, such as:
How to Survive Christmas – A Guide for Autistic Adults and Parents of Autistic Children