Turning Point offers advice for those suffering from festive stress

News item posted: 19 June 2017

In the wake of research showing that 65% of adults in England and Wales felt under pressure at Christmas, Turning Point has issued some easy-to-follow tips to help people cope with stress this festive period.


Rob McDonald, Turning Point's Director of Operations for Mental Health, explained:

"Although Christmas should be a magical time, research last year showed that 65% of us feel under pressure during the festive period. If not managed properly, stress can lead to depression and anxiety, but a few simple tactics can help.  

"For many people, it can also be useful to speak to a mental health professional, and just one or two sessions can make a difference. And it's important to remember that this doesn't mean you are 'mentally ill'. Most of us get even minor physical ailments checked out by our GP - we should treat our mental health in the same way."

These are Rob's tips for staying in good mental health this Christmas:

Think of yourself
At Christmas, you might feel that friends and family all expect a lot of you, but try to remember that these are people who care about you. If they knew their demands had caused you distress, they would almost certainly reconsider them. It's really important to be honest - if you want to say no, you should say no, and don't be afraid to ask loved ones for help with specific tasks.

Go easy on the drink
While a glass or two can be enjoyable, using alcohol to cope with stress often makes things worse. Alcohol is a depressant, which means it slows your body down, and that includes the chemicals your brain uses to regulate mood. Even once you're sober, this can cause you to feel depressed or anxious about things that would not normally affect you.

Stay active
Exercise can seem daunting when you're full of Christmas dinner but even a brisk walk will release hormones that make you feel calmer and improve your mood. In addition, a little time on your own can be helpful - constant interaction can be difficult, and time away from others will help you feel calmer.

Recently, the NHS has made it easier than ever to speak to a mental health professional, often over the phone. To find out about access to mental health services in your area, contact your local NHS trust.