The festive season can be a difficult time of year for LGBTQ individuals and this Christmas is likely to be particularly isolating due to the pandemic. You might be feeling lonely or you may be enduring an uncomfortable Christmas bubble with family. Here are MindOut’s top tips for staying mentally well this winter.
Day 1. Reach out
Don’t be afraid to reach out to trusted friends or family if you need something. If you’re feeling down it’s worth having someone on standby you feel safe talking to. Make time for friends online but also offline if you can.
Day 2. Get moving to change your energy
It’s very easy to stay under the duvet when you’re feeling low but this can make you feel worse. Shake off the sluggishness and lift your mood by going for a brisk walk if you’re able to. Take a different route to usual to help clear the mind and refresh your senses. Even light exercise gets those feel good brain chemicals moving.
Day 3. A winter clean
Cleaning is underestimated! Getting your home in shape is associated with decreased stress and anxiety. Heading into 2021 with an organised living space will mean starting the year with a clearer head. When you’ve finished a room, light a candle or incense and enjoy the tranquility.
Day 4. Get absorbed in art or media
It’s ok to switch off if it all gets too much. Do something for yourself and distract with a favourite book or film. Try a new podcast or listen to an uplifting Spotify play list.
Day 5. Pace yourself and set boundaries
Sometimes we need to say no to others in order to look after ourselves. Be aware of the pressure to socialise, drink and be busy. Lots of people will be excited after the second lockdown but if you need to be alone and quiet that’s ok too.
Day 6. Get creative with homemade gifts
Making presents can help focus the mind and reduce anxiety. Handmade cards go down well if a gift feels out of your creative scope.
Day 7. Notice the small things
Every day of winter will show you something beautiful. Watch playful robins in a park or notice as the evenings get lighter from your window. A day may seem dull but you will notice calming beauty if you just look out for it.
Day 8. Eat a rainbow
Most of us will indulge over the festive season but remember to eat some colourful fruit and vegetables too. Winter is for soups, stews and roast dinners, as well as mince pies! Food can really impact your mood so try to keep a balance.
Day 9. ‘Tis the season to be sleepy
Apart from New Years Eve, there’s no reason to stay up late this month. Lack of sleep can affect your mood, energy and concentration so getting enough snooze time should be high on your list of winter priorities.
Day 10. New year, better wellbeing
New years resolutions can be tricky to keep but thinking about plans for 2021 will give you something positive to focus on. Maybe there is a friend you would like to make more effort with or a course you would like to start. It’s never too late for a change in direction or for more self-care.
Day 11. Include mindfulness daily
You don’t need to be a yoga queen to add a little mindfulness into your day. De-stress by sitting quietly and breathing deeply, following a guided meditation, making origami (think Christmas cards!) or appreciating nature. These all lower your blood pressure and allow you to be in the moment.
Day 12. Talk to someone
Our online support service is here for you throughout the festive period. We know it’s not easy to reach out when you are feeling lonely or low but talking to someone about how you’re feeling can be a huge relief and a different perspective can help calm suicidal thoughts and feelings. Trained volunteers are ready to talk to you about any issues you are facing or are happy to just chat. Please contact us via www.mindout.org.uk where you can also find our opening times.