I know many people who find Christmas difficult. Whether it’s anxiety over money. Stress about debts. Feeling overloaded with work and the party season. Missing loved ones. I thought as part of my a Broke Girl in the City Guide to Christmas. I would touch upon how to cope with anxiety and/or depression during the Xmas period.
It’s ok not to feel ok sometimes…
I am a massive supporter of mental health and have chosen to speak about anxiety and depression in Broke Girl in the City. It’s important to remember you are not alone and there are other people out there who can help. However overwhelming things might seem.
So take a step back when you are feeling like this and remember…it’s ok not to feel ok sometimes. Christmas is difficult for many people. It might seem the season to be jolly but many people suffer from severe anxiety and/or depression during this period. Many people feel they have to be happy and make others happy. Getting further into debt. Attending parties they don’t want to go to. Putting on a happy front when they feel anything but happy.
You are not alone…
Tips for coping with anxiety & depression at Xmas
Be honest with friends and loved ones
I hate shopping at the best of times. I get quite claustrophobic and anxious in large shops. So if the thought of venturing into central London over the Christmas period might trigger a panic or full anxiety attack, then confide in people who are close to you. Try and go into the city during quieter moments or not at all if you can help it. London at Christmas may seem very exciting but it is also very daunting, so just be honest with people around you. Let them know what to do if things get too much. I do all of my Christmas shopping online which means no shops! Read my article on panic attacks for some advice on how to cope.
Look after yourself this Christmas
Remember the analogy which says that when you are in an aircraft in trouble, the first thing you must do is put your own Oxegen mask on before looking after anyone else? As much as you want to be there for everyone else. You have to think about your own mental and physical health. Don’t over commit yourself…whether it’s financial or burning the candle at both ends. You owe it to yourself not to get into debt buying presents. Stay at home if going out is going to deplete you and make you ill. Do what you need to do to keep yourself well. Also, alcohol can have a detrimental effect on your mood. So try and have a few days off this party season and look after yourself. Read my 5 Top Tips for Surviving Xmas Party Season.
Create an anxiety box
Mental health blogger Louis has written an amazing article on how to create an anxiety box. In his words, ‘The box is also great when you’re feeling anxious for no reason which is something I get a lot. My hearts starts beating really fast, I get worried and sometimes I even start to shake. The best thing is to try and take your mind off it which this comfort box does really well!’. I love this idea. I have go-to songs to cheer myself up. However, I am going to put together my own anxiety box with all my feel-good items: photos, music, bath oils.
Do something for others
When you are suffering from anxiety or depression it might seem a tall order sometimes to look after yourself. However, we all know it feels good to give or do something nice for others. I am pulling together a #FoodBankAdvent, where each day I am collecting food items to then donate to a food bank near me. The original idea came from Money blogger Andy Webb and this year I have decided to promote it and give the idea my full support.
In the photo above, I met this guy at Liverpool Street Station on my way home. He looked visibly distressed and yet this was the smile after I gave him £20 to get a hostel for the night.
Light a candle for a loved one
Regardless of your religious persuasion. Why not light a candle this Christmas to remember loved ones who have passed. When I last went into Leicester Cathedral with Tracy a couple of years ago. We both lit a candle for our grandfathers who we had loved dearly. This year I intend to light a candle to remember Tracy, who I lost this year. It is a memory we both treasured doing this together. It’s a small gesture but doing it means I will feel close to her at Christmas.
If of course you ever do feel suicidal and need urgent help, please do get in contact with someone straight away. Depression kills.
Contact your A&E Department – 999
Call Samaritans – freephone 116 12
NHS Direct – 111 (England) 0845 46 47 (Wales)
Contact your local Crisis team if under their care