Self-care through winter and Christmas

1st November 23

Hot drink in winterThe winter and festive period can be stressful if you are looking after someone. And after the build up to Christmas, you may feel empty when it’s all over. Remember, you can contact us to ensure you are getting the support you need.

These ideas might also help you (and you can also see our article on getting the support you need this winter):

  • Try to get outside at least once a day, even for a short walk. Contact us if you are worried about leaving the person you look after for a short time – there can be help available to you.
  • Limit your time on social media which can create unrealistic expectations.
  • Note down little things that help, like messaging a friend, and try to do one each day.
  • Lift your mood by consciously thinking of five things that you’re grateful for.
  • If you’re feeling low, making plans can be difficult, but even a short time with friends can give you a real boost.
  • Set some realistic goals for the coming weeks, or to achieve in 2024.
  • Try to be aware of any self-critical thoughts – question whether they are valid – would you say or think the same of someone else in your situation? You can practice reframing these to be more compassionate to yourself and by doing that you can often move on more positively. The more often you are kind to yourself, the easier it should become.
  • It can be helpful to be around others, but recognise it’s important not to overwhelm yourself with situations where you feel obliged to be around people or to be cheerful. Try not to let yourself become isolated, but know it’s ok to take time out and put yourself first.

More tips for coping with Christmas and New Year

  • Say no if you need to. Don’t feel you have to anything you don’t want to. People will normally understand, but recognise that it is not a reflection on you if they do not understand your situation. Also don’t feel guilty about enjoying yourself when you have opportunities to do what you do find fun.
  • When getting together with family, remember that everyone will deal with a diagnosis, illness progression or grief differently, there is no ‘right way’. And people may be at different stages of processing what is happening. It helps if everyone can normalise their individual and varied responses and support each other.
  • Structure your days. Try not to limit yourself, or spend too much time sat watching television. Think of other activities that work for you, such as reading, taking some exercise, going for a walk or just meeting a friend.
  • Stay warm and well – it’s important for you and the person you care for to stay healthy and warm in winter but especially at Christmas when services are limited. You can view this advice from the NHS on staying well this winter.