Looking after your wellbeing this festive season
Christmas and New Year can be a difficult time when existing pressures and problems in our daily lives can seem or become worse. Here is some advice for the festive season:
1.Be careful about comparing yourself to others at Christmas
Unrealistic media about other people’s festive celebrations can make us feel less positive. Be realistic about your own expectations. Make plans for how you will spend the time over Christmas. Build in time to treat yourself whether it is reading a new book, going out for coffee or a meal.
2. Participate in your local community or social groups
Christmas can be a time when you feel isolated or lonely. Many organisations offer support at Christmas and finding out what is available in your local area may be helpful. Local libraries, community centres, social media and newspapers are good sources of information. Volunteering is one good way of reducing loneliness and having a sense of purpose if you would otherwise be spending Christmas alone. Try connecting with local groups and not spend too much time alone. You might like to go to community Christmas lunches which happen across London – you can search for ones happening locally to you here.
3. Connect with other people in similar situations
Don’t allow your normal routines to be pushed out of place. Try to go to your regular support groups such as SMART, NA and AA over the holiday period for support. You could consider going to extra meetings.
4. Plan to keep things problem free
Think about what people or situations may trigger negative feelings or behaviours and start to figure out ways to avoid them early on in December. If going to a New Year’s party might be a trigger, decide to just stop by on New Year’s Day instead to see the same people. Try to avoid people or places that may bring back memories of unhappy experiences or that might cause you to think about using drugs or alcohol. If you are unable to avoid these, think about making a plan to cope with them as well as you possibly can. Your Key Worker can help you with this.
5. Keep active
Keeping physically active can help with your mood as well as improve your health. Try to schedule in some time every day for walking, swimming or gardening or whatever activity you prefer. These will all help you to sleep better too.
6. Don’t give up
If you have a moment of frustration or sadness then let it pass and go on. Feeling bad for a few minutes doesn’t mean you need to give up on your recovery. Let these emotions just pass through you. Remember, no emotion lasts forever, even though it might feel that way at the time. Use distractions if possible to turn your attention elsewhere like going for a walk, calling your sponsor or reading a book.
We have put together a range of contact numbers for those who may feel they need extra support or help over the seasonal period. This ranges from the Samaritans to the National Debt Helpline.
Download our PDF file of Useful contacts over the Christmas and New Year period.