Unhappy young woman at Christmas

Coping With Christmas

Christmas is edging ever closer. There’s lots to enjoy about the festive period, but for many of us it can also be a difficult time. Like a digital Christmas elf, we’ve put together our top 5 tips on how to cope with Christmas

1. Avoid the Christmas Debt – Make a budget

In a survey conducted by the charity Mind, 41% of people said their mental health suffered at Christmas because of debt. According to a poll from last year, the average Brit overspends by £153 at Christmas. With the pressure to spend starting earlier each year, the best way to avoid going into debt is to make a budget. We can break down our spending into 4 categories – Presents, Food & drink, Going Out, and Extras (decorations etc.). We can then see where we have to cut back and avoid going into the new year with a debt hangover.

2. Manage Expectations – Put a cap on present spending

Building on the first point: in the UK we spend most of our Christmas budget on presents. Of an average of £538 spent by each Brit, £311 goes on presents. That’s nearly 60%. It’s great to be generous, but if we’re strapped for cash it’s madness to fork out so much. Take a look at our 12 Saves of Christmas feature for loads of great ways to cut the cost of presents. It truly is the thought that counts. And friends and family wouldn’t want us to suffer for blowing our budget on expensive gifts. One foolproof way of cutting back is to put a cap on present spend – so spending no more than maybe £10 on each present.

3. Avoid too much excess

It is the season to be jolly. But too much booze and rich food added to a lack of sleep can build up and make us feel blue. Looking after our physical and mental health over the festive season isn’t always easy. But cutting back on booze, staying hydrated and fitting in some physical exercise goes a long way. Check out our Get fit for Free guide for no cost ways of staying fit. Or have a look at our guide to mindfulness to help stay calm at Christmas.

4. Look in on the lonely

In the same Mind survey as mentioned earlier, a staggering 83% said they struggled at Christmas because of feeling lonely. Most of us will know someone, maybe a neighbour or elderly relative, who struggles with loneliness. By spending a tiny bit of time looking in on someone who’s on their own at Christmas, we could make a huge difference. It could even be us that is lonely, and that knock on the door could be a lifesaver.

5. Ask for help

If it all gets too much, and we feel like we can’t cope, we should ask for help. There are loads of places we can get advice and support. It could be we need some debt advice around overspending. If so, Stepchange, the debt charity, are a great starting point. Or maybe we need advice on struggles with our mental health. If so, don’t leave it, take action. 20% of those surveyed by Mind said they’d called a helpline at Christmas. The Samaritans helpline is open 24 hours a day throughout the Christmas period.

For more quick tips on coping with Christmas, check out MentalHealth.org’s guide here.

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