MIND your mental health and well-being this festive period

Date published: 25 December 2019

At a time of increased stress, possible financial struggles and even family and friendship pressures, Christmas can be a difficult time for many people.

However, the Chronicle has spoken to well-being expert Jason Bromley, a senior manager at Tameside, Oldham and Glossop MIND, and he has offered some comforting words of advice.

Jason has advised early intervention before hitting crisis point, and very much encouraged a 'self-care' approach as we head into the festive period.

Jason said: “As a society, we can be so focused on Christmas and the festive time being a period of merriment and present-exchanging, but even people who have never identified mental health issues can really start to feel the pressure.

“They can feel it financially, they can just feel the dark nights and time of year, there's maybe even a seasonal defectiveness disorder.

“Stress can go through the roof because of different commitments, maybe engagement or interaction with family, then on the opposite end of the spectrum, and something which is becoming more and more prevalent, is the fear of social isolation.

“Some of those warning signs could be something you simply don't enjoy any more.

“Maybe you're a bit short or a bit snappy with family or friends, or maybe it's just the practical day-to-day stuff you are feeling is just that bit more exhaustive than normal.

“Anything around that we can help with.

“We've got a winter well-being programme, we can link in with well-being sessions.

“This time of year is the time to really look after and take care of yourself.”

It doesn't have to be a major drama to take care of yourself in a bid to avoid potential mental stress.

“If you're able to, do something physical, even if it's just for five minutes a day,” added Jason.

“That is proven to release endorphines from the brain, which are like the 'feel-good' chemicals.

“Could you go for a brisk walk around the block, or round the park – anything like that can help.

“If you feel you can't meet people face to face, you can send a text message, email, or chat with somebody over the phone.

“It really is good to connect, and therefore potentially off-load.

“If you don't feel like you can do that with a friend or family member, there's a range of support services out there.

“Samaritans is a prime example of that. Twenty-four-seven, seven days a week – you can email or phone them.

“There's GP and NHS services too of course, there's social prescribing in Oldham now, where you can link in and access social sessions which tie in with the five ways to well-being.

“It really is genuinely about self-care.

“Listen to that internal dialogue – what's your brain and your body telling you at this time of year?

“If you're having a hard time, get the early intervention support.

“Don't bottle it up and don't pretend it isn't happening – there is support out there.

“Nobody should be suffering in silence.”

Jason and his colleagues at MIND are available to talk to at their central Oldham headquarters next to the Positive Steps based near Sainsbury's.

Call them on 0161 330 9223, or email: office@togmind.org

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