Why people may suffer from mental health issues at Christmas
Typically, Christmas is seen as a time for celebrations and festive activities, but for many this is not the case.
Most people will experience some form of negative mental health effect during the Christmas period, even if they are not diagnosed as suffering from a mental health issue.
This is not always extreme; most people will experience this in stress, mild anxiety, or worrying about the running of events.
However, for those who suffer with mental health issues all year long can find the festive period especially challenging and perhaps damaging to their mental wellbeing.
There are many reasons for mental health issues during Christmas. For example, the pressure of gift-giving is amongst some of the most stressful events of the year.
Research has shown that wanting to get the ‘perfect gift’ for someone can in fact do more harm than good in terms of mental wellbeing (1).
In addition, the typical and traditional events such as Christmas dinners and lunches can be especially damaging to those struggling with addictions, eating disorders, and social anxiety.
Some will also consume an excessive amount of alcohol. This is definitely something you will want to limit the amount of alcohol you consume. (2)
There is no specific mental health issue that is affected by Christmas, more that different elements of Christmas and its associate traditions can have serious effects on an individual’s wellbeing.
Ways you can protect your mental health at Christmas
Fortunately, this webpage can provide you with several top tips and methods to help protect your mental health at Christmas.
These will not all be relevant to every individual case, but each should be considered carefully and implemented where possible during the festive period.
For some, the idea of spending large amounts of time with family and friends can be daunting. In these cases, joining a local support group of volunteer program during the festive period can be a great way to get some time to yourself as well as aiding the local community.
Alternatively, talking to someone about your problems is also recommended. Where suitable, individuals should seek help by talking to a trusted family member or friend about the issues they are experiencing.
Not only will this allow you to speak about your problems, taking a load off your own shoulders (3), but it will also alert your chosen individual to the problems you may experience and how they can help in different situations.
As a final tip, individuals should also try to regulate their schedule. It can be easy to fall into a pattern of partying, eating, and drinking excessively, but by planning this time, an individual will be able to cope with these potential difficulties much more easily.
This also includes planning features such as meals and exercise, perhaps including some of the community work as mentioned above.
Not everyone experiences Christmas the same, so to learn more about mental health during this time, check out the infographic below:
 Wooten, D.B. (2000) Qualitative Steps toward an Expanded Model of Anxiety in Gift-Giving. Journal of Consumer Research, Volume 27, Issue 1, June 2000, Pages 84–95, https://doi.org/10.1086/314310
 Rehab 4 Addiction – alcohol rehab Birmingham page
 Riahi, M. E., Aliverdinia, A., & Pourhossein, Z. (2011). Relationship between social support and mental health. Social Welfare Quarterly, 10(39), 85-121.
Rehab4addiction – www.rehab4addiction.co.uk/
View the Mental Health at Christmas infographic here.