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Christmas is an exciting, lovely time of year, but it can also be stressful and tiring. And if you’re worried about your family’s health, wellbeing or finances, the festive period can sometimes make these worries seem even bigger. Our Family Support Directory links to lots of organisations that can help.

Here are some tips for looking after yourself at this busy time of year. Our page on looking after yourself during winter has more ideas.

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Wellbeing tips for the festive season

Tip #1: Take time for yourself

Christmas is always a busy time, and you might be trying so hard to make it extra special for everyone else in your family that you forget about yourself. But you need some down time – and some fun! – too. So make sure you set aside some time to do something that you really enjoy, whether that’s soaking in a bath, listening to music or watching a grown up Christmas movie that doesn’t feature any cartoon snowmen!  

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Tip #: Get outside

When it’s cold and wet outside it can be tempting to spend all day hibernating indoors. But getting out into the fresh air does wonders for our wellbeing – even if it’s only for 10 minutes. When you’re outside, take some deep breaths and try to forget about everything you need to do by looking around you and noticing as many details as you can. What do the trees look like? Can you see decorations in people’s windows? What can you hear? To help, try downloading this mood boosting podcast from Paths For All, narrated by Edith Bowman. You’ll find more tips for boosting your wellbeing on the Mind to Mind website.

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Tip #3: Try to keep to a routine

Over the Christmas holidays it can be tempting to let our usual routines go right out the window. When else is it okay to eat mince pies for breakfast and stay up all night for a Christmas movie marathon? But if you try to keep to some kind of routine for most of the holiday, with regular healthy meals and reasonable bedtimes, then Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day will seem even more fun for the kids – and it’ll be easier to get them back to school when January rolls round. Our page on making daily life easier has lots of tips to help family life go more smoothly.

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Tip #4: Look after your relationship

If you have a partner, Christmas can be a testing time. If you can, leave the kids with a friend or family member and spend some quality time together, just the two of you.

If you don’t have anyone to babysit, try to aim for at least one night when the kids go to bed early, or promise to stay in their room watching a movie, so you and your partner can have some time to unwind together. 

If you’re worried about your relationship, the Spark’s free Relationship Helpline is there for you. If you’re 16 or over, freephone 0808 802 2088 for emotional support and access to free counselling, Monday to Friday. Our page on looking after your relationship has more advice.

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Tip #5: Remember it’s okay not to be okay

There’s a lot of pressure at this time of year to be happy and to have a good time, so if you feel low or anxious, this pressure can make you feel even worse. So remind yourself that it’s okay not to be okay. Be kind to yourself and talk to someone you trust about how you feel. This could be your partner, a friend or your GP. Or you may find it easier to call a helpline like NHS24 (111), Breathing Space (0800 83 85 87) or the Samaritans (116 123) or text Shout’s 24/7 crisis text service on 85258.

NHS Inform has advice on different aspects of your emotional health, like dealing with low moods, anger, fear and stress. You can also find mental health advice for parents, new mums and parents to be here on Parent Club.

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